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White-Collar Crime

Imprisoned Ex-Attorney Says Cash Bribes, Call Girls at Law Firm Condo Aided $1.2B Ponzi Scheme

Posted Jan 9, 2012 1:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Cash bribes totaling at least $1 million and call girls helped him pull off a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, a disbarred Florida lawyer said during a 10-day deposition in a federal courtroom in Miami last month.

Now serving a 50-year prison term, Scott Rothstein said he hoped to win a sentence reduction by telling the truth about what happened. He pointed the finger at bankers, law partners, law enforcement officers, politicians, unidentified judges and others, claiming that cash bribes and a chance to participate in a "rock-star lifestyle" featuring private jets, sports events, strip clubs and call girls helped grease the wheels for his scheme, according to the Associated Press and the Pulp blog of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times.

Rothstein, 49, said a condo across the street from his now-bankrupt Fort Lauderdale law firm served as a convenient spot for himself and his law partners to meet call girls during the work day, the Pulp recounts. He estimated that he sometimes spent as much as $50,000 to $60,000 per month on prostitutes, and claimed that one of his partners was racking up a $5,000-a-week call girl bill.

Lawyers representing law partners of Rothstein who he claimed used the prostitutes called his allegations ridiculous and argued that he is a known liar who would say anything to try to win a sentence reduction, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Although Rothstein did not claim that all of those he identified knew of the scheme, the perception of his power and a chance to participate in his luxurious lifestyle apparently convinced some not to look too closely into what might be fueling the money flow, according to a Miami Herald op-ed.

“In its simplest terms, it is the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, by whatever means you can think of,” Rothstein explained during the deposition.

“Chartering jets. Not waiting in lines at any restaurant or any club. Wearing the most expensive clothes. Having access to the best clothiers, the best shoemakers, having access to the finest jewelry.

“Being able to shut down a store and bring your friends in and jewelry shop. And at concerts having backstage passes, being in the first row, first three rows of concerts, being on the floor at Heat games."

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Scott Rothstein Says Other Law Firms Aided $1.2B Fraud by Turning Blind Eye to His Lies"

ABAJournal.com: "Convicted in $1.2B Ponzi Scheme, Scott Rothstein Said in Depo That 2 Law Firm Partners Benefited"

ABAJournal.com: "Imprisoned Ponzi-Schemer Ex-Lawyer Explodes at Murder Insinuation"

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