Legal Ethics

Helping wife of Ponzi-scheming lawyer in plot to hide jewelry leads to disbarment for attorney

A Florida lawyer who represented the wife of convicted Ponzi-schemer lawyer Scott Rothstein has consented to disbarment in Arizona after pleading guilty to helping her hide more than $1 million in jewelry from the government.

Lawyer Scott Saidel consented to disbarment, according to a June 3 order (PDF) accepting the disbarment. The Legal Profession Blog linked to the order. Saidel pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the Sun Sentinel and a press release. He also practices law in Florida.

Saidel was accused of helping Kimberly Rothstein in her plot to hide the jewelry, an asset that could be seized to help repay defrauded investors. Prosecutors had claimed Saidel planned to administer a trust account funded with money from sales of the jewelry, including a 12-carat diamond ring. The government also alleges Saidel and Kim Rothstein tried to persuade Scott Rothstein to falsely testify he had sold the ring to a man who later died.

Scott Rothstein was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2010 for the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated while working at his law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. The scheme involved sales of discounted stakes in phony legal settlements.

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