White-Collar Crime

Convicted in $1.2B Ponzi Scheme, Scott Rothstein Said in Depo That 2 Law Firm Partners Benefited

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Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein pointed the finger at two ex-partners of his bankrupt South Florida law firm during a deposition, the Associated Press and South Florida Business Journal report.

Convicted of running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme while at the helm of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm and sentenced to 50 years, Rothstein said on the first day of the deposition, Dec. 12, that partners Russell Adler and Stuart Rosenfeldt knew about and benefited from the scheme, according to a transcript released today. He said he is cooperating with lawyers involved in bankruptcy litigation and civil claims in the hope of winning a sentence reduction.

“They knew that we were moving money illegally in and out the of the law firm. At various points in time, they came to know that there was a Ponzi scheme going on, although the word Ponzi was never utilized,” said Rothstein, according to the transcript, as published by the Business Journal.

Adler and Rosenfeldt have previously said they had no knowledge of Rothstein’s scheme, which involved selling purported investments in fake legal settlements to well-to-do individuals. And, in response to Rothstein’s allegations, their lawyers reiterated those denials, reports the AP:

“Mr. Rosenfeldt knew nothing of the illegal activities by Mr. Rothstein,” said Rosenfeldt’s attorney, Bruce Lehr.

“We would expect Mr. Rothstein to say whatever he has to say to get out of prison in his lifetime,” said attorney Fred Haddad, who represents Adler.

Rothstein estimated during the deposition that he himself personally spent $200 million, in a crime that he said was motivated not by a desire for material things but a desire for power.

“We were living like rock stars … We had more than enough money to fuel our lifestyles,” he said. “It was that power that got ahold of us and kept pulling this forward; the more power, the more money, the more money the more power, it kept going back and forth until [it] exploded.”

Bloomberg also has a brief story.

Earlier coverage:

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

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