Law Firms

Lawyer Called 'Financial Serial Killer' By Partner is Now Option 3 on FBI Hotline

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking those with information about a South Florida attorney described by a partner of his law firm as a “financial serial killer” to select option three on a hotline set up for tips about major crimes.

Option one concerns a photograph of an unknown male sex offender and option two asks for help about three Virginia murders in 2002, reports the Mayo on the side blog of the Sun-Sentinel.

Attorney Scott Rothstein, who has not been criminally charged–and has, according to the newspaper, been seen around Fort Lauderdale drinking martinis this week, following a brief foray into Morocco–has been accused by federal authorities in a civil forfeiture action of operating a Ponzi scheme that could involve $1 billion or more.

A lengthy Wall Street Journal article details the crash of his life in the fast last, perhaps foreshadowed by a problem some employees of his law firm had in late 2006, when money allegedly was missing from their retirement accounts for a short time.

William Berger, a partner in Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler’s Boca Raton office who now considers himself unemployed following the law firm’s sudden plunge into receivership this month, calls Rothstein a “financial serial killer” who has destroyed lives, reports the Palm Beach Post.

In addition to the investors who reportedly claim to have lost of millions of dollars by putting money into Rothstein’s scheme, Berger cites a law firm secretary who, he said, saved $2,000 to make a down payment on a house only to see the money disappear from a firm account, the newspaper reports.

Describing the situation at the dissolving firm as “a huge mess,” a court-appointed receiver said at a bankruptcy hearing this week that “it looks like there were significant transfers of property and money that were improper.”

Earlier coverage: “FBI: Rothstein Scheme Could Top $1B; Filing: Firm Spent $1.4M in Escrow Funds”

Updated at 7:05 p.m. to link to subsequent Wall Street Journal coverage.

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