Monday, December 22, 2014


Ms. Villegas
Debra Villegas, the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (RRA) employee who rose to become the COO of Scott Rothstein's billion dollar Ponzi scheme, which sold bogus court settlements, received a Christmas present last week from her sentencing judge. The defendant, whose ten year sentence was second only to Rothstein's fifty years, obtained a 60% reduction, to only 48 months, which makes her immediately eligible for release.

The US Attorney's Rule 35 motion HAD requested only a 50% sentence reduction, which is generally the maximum that prosecutors ask the Court for, when a defendant has provided sufficient Substantial Assistance, involving other defendants, or the recovery of assets, but the Court chose to follow defense counsel's suggestion, probably for an unusual reason.

Here is why Villegas' counsel had just cause for asking for additional time: The defendant has some serious medical issues, including heart problems, and is the subject of a medical hold, meaning that, if she is not released, she cannot be present to testify against the TD Bank officer who is facing a trial, for his role in the Ponzi scheme, and against her ex-husband, for is going to trial shortly on charges that he killed an RRA partner who was her close friend. Also, her medical issues make her ineligible for halfway house, so her release from confinement was the only viable option.

Additionally, Villegas' attorney detailed how his client was instrumental in assisting the US Attorney's Office in Fort Lauderdale develop, prosecute and obtain guilty pleas and convictions, from several RRA staff members involved in the Ponzi scheme. She reportedly cooperated early on, without either a plea agreement or grant of immunity, and also located Rothstein assets abroad.

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