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Teary Ex-GC for Ponzi Schemer Rothstein: ‘I Didn’t Know the Guy Was a Criminal’

Posted Apr 30, 2010 10:21 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The former general counsel in the law firm of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein cried several times during a deposition yesterday, saying he had trusted the lawyer who lured him to a job that eventually paid $500,000 a year.

David Boden testified in a deposition taken in the bankruptcy of Rothstein's law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, report the Daily Business Review and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. At one point Boden stopped the deposition to compose himself, the story says, as he detailed his discovery that hundreds of millions of dollars were missing from law firm trust accounts.

Boden said he wasn't aware the litigation settlements sold to investors by Rothstein were fraudulent. "You know, I didn't know the guy was a criminal," Boden said, according to the Sun Sentinel account. "I trusted the guy. Shame on me."

Boden said Rothstein had lured him away from the management firm where he worked in 2008 with a $300,000 salary, later raised to $500,000 when he became general counsel of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. Boden, who was licensed in New York, but not in Florida, testified that Rothstein told him he didn’t need to take the Florida bar, the Daily Business Review story says.

Rothstein pleaded guilty in January to all five counts against him in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. The law firm’s chief operating officer, Debra Villegas, was charged earlier this week with conspiracy to commit money laundering. She is accused of helping Rothstein fabricate and market the bogus litigation settlements.

Boden testified that he didn’t know anything about the phony settlements, but he signed off on them because he trusted Rothstein, who provided documents that appeared to confirm their legitimacy.

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