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Legal Ethics

Ponzi-Schemer Lawyer Explains Motive: ‘All in the Name of Ego and Greed’

Posted Jun 7, 2010 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former South Florida lawyer awaiting sentencing for running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme tells a judge in a 12-page letter that he feels “overwhelming remorse and self-loathing” for harming his victims.

Scott Rothstein calls himself a “waste of a human being,” the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, and says the scheme was “all in the name of ego and greed,” the Miami Herald says.

Rothstein “comes across as a man with a profound inferiority complex," according to the Miami Herald. He talks about a drive to succeed after growing up in a family that struggled financially. The Sun Sentinel describes Rothstein’s letter as “confessional and sometimes maudlin.”

He told of thinking about suicide. “I can remember just days before deciding to flee to Morocco, sitting in my shower, in my business suit, crying, with a .357 Magnum up against my head,” he wrote. Then in Morocco, he contemplated killing himself with pills and vodka, according to NBCMiami.com.

Rothstein could be sentenced to life in prison, but his lawyer, Marc Nurik, is seeking a 30-year term. Nurik says Rothstein’s cooperation and his guilty plea support the lower sentence. Rothstein pleaded guilty to selling stakes in phony legal settlements. Sentencing is on Wednesday.

Recent prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Auction of Ponzi Schemer Rothstein’s Cars, Boats Nets $5.8 Million” ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Law Firm COO Set to Enter Guilty Plea in Ponzi Case”

ABAJournal.com: “CBS: Lawyer Stung Mafia Suspects to Get Witness Time in $1.2B Scheme”

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