Sunday, August 25, 2013


The Ponzi schemer, with his watch collection
Former Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein is probably one of the most despised individuals in Florida, after it was revealed that his investment program (Ponzi scheme) had defrauded victims out of more than $1.2bn. As the consequence of his crimes, he drew a 50-year sentence. Federal law requires him to serve at least 85% of his sentence before he can be released, which should be of some comfort to his victims, but he may be getting out of prison earlier than they want, which may promote hard feelings on their part. They may feel that justice was not served, and they may be right.

On June 8, 2011, within the one year period mandated by law, the United States Attorney filed a Motion for Reduction of Sentence and for Stay of Ruling, pursuant to Rule 35, Fed.R.Crim.P. The text of the relevant paragraph follows:

" Based upon the defendant having provided Substantial Assistance to the government, in the investigation and/or prosecution of others, and further moves the Court to stay any ruling on
this motion until the defendant's cooperation is complete."  Motion at 1.

The motion also details when the US Attorney will further contact the Court:

"Upon completion of the defendant's cooperation, the government will file a motion for a hearing at which time the government will advise the Court of the nature, extent and value of the defendant's cooperation." Motion at 2.

Rothstein's cooperation may earn him a sentence reduction, which will probably be granted without any mention of it in the media, meaning that many of the victims may not learn about it.  While he did provide valuable assistance to the prosecution, including at least one case where he wore a concealed audio device, to snare an alleged organized crime figure, the victims do not want this Ponzi schemer to get favorable treatment, due to the enormity of his crimes, and the damage that he did to them.

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