Feds Seize Rothstein’s Ferrari, Boats in Ponzi Scheme Probe
Posted Nov 9, 2009 5:27 PM CST
By Martha Neil
Holed up in an undisclosed location with his legal counsel, attorney Scott Rothstein has been in an upbeat mood lately after his return from Morocco, despite accusations that he stole hundreds of millions of dollars from investors through his law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.
But now federal authorities have filed a forfeiture action against eight properties owned by the 47-year-old South Florida practitioner, contending that “there is probable cause to believe that the above-described defendant properties were acquired in connection with a ‘Ponzi’ scheme conducted by attorney Scott Rothstein,” reports Bloomberg.
The assets in the alleged investment scheme at issue reportedly could substantially exceed $100 million; Rothstein reportedly may have had some $700 to $900 million in bank accounts under his sole control.
Authorities also seized Rothstein's assets today, including a bright red Ferrari convertible, three boats and bank accounts, reports the Associated Press. The news agency says the sealed federal seizure warrants were described by an unidentified law enforcement official.
The assets were seized by FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents as part of a criminal investigation of Rothstein, reports the Miami Herald. FBI agents also appeared to be taking due note of a Bentley convertible, a silver Rolls Royce and a Cadillac Escalade at Rothstein's home in Fort Lauderdale this morning, according to the newspaper.
Although Rothstein has not been criminally charged, authorities got civil forfeiture seizure warrants because of evidence showing that he acquired those assets with ill-gotten gains from the alleged investment scam, the Herald explains.
The Bloomberg article doesn't include any response from Rothstein concerning the forfeiture filing in Fort Lauderdale federal court, and the AP says his lawyer couldn't immediately be reached for comment concerning the seizure of assets.
The Rothstein law firm has reportedly been running on fumes and investors today filed to intervene in a receivership requested by the law firm, in order to prevent Rothstein Rosenfeldt from using returned political contributions for operating expenses.
Additional and related coverage:
ABAJournal.com: "Rothstein in Upbeat Mood, Says He’s Smoking Cigars with His Lawyer"
South Florida Business Journal: "Rothstein claimants start lining up in court"
Sun-Sentinel: "Are Rothstein's partners handling fallout correctly?"