Criminal Justice

Ex-Lawyer Rothstein Gets 50-Year Sentence for Ponzi Scheme

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Disbarred South Florida lawyer Scott Rothstein has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, a sentence that is 10 years longer than prosecutors requested.

U.S. District Judge James Cohn imposed the sentence this morning, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Reuters and the Miami Herald report. Rothstein was sentenced for selling investors discounted stakes in phony legal settlements.

According to the Herald, “Rothstein will go down in South Florida history as a one-man wrecking ball who destroyed his own 70-attorney law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, and used it to prop himself up as a flashy player among wealthy investors, society types, trendy entrepreneurs and prominent politicians.”

Rothstein had sought a 30-year sentence based on his cooperation, telling the court in a 12-page letter than his scheme was “all in the name of ego and greed.” He talked about his drive to succeed after growing up in a family that struggled financially, and his thoughts of suicide when his wrongdoing was discovered. Rothstein wrote that he felt “overwhelming remorse and self-loathing” for harming his victims.

Rothstein’s cooperation reportedly included wearing a wire to help implicate a reputed mafia figure.

Updated at 12:57 p.m. to clarify that Rothstein has been disbarred.

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