Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The "Ponzi Princess"
One of the little known facts regarding Federal criminal defendants: while their sentencing and incarceration generally get intense press coverage, any subsequent sentence reduction they may receive for cooperating with law enforcement is generally never picked up by the media, and thus is never reported. Some legal observers believe that, while the "Substantial Assistance" that they render achieves a valid public purpose, namely the arrest and conviction of others, the victims are shortchanged when the perpetrator is released from custody before serving the total sentence that was originally pronounced by the Court.

In cases where there are many victims, or the monetary losses are great, early release from prison is generally not favored by the victims, and can result in the public expression, by the victims, of their outrage regarding the fact that the individual who committed a crime against them got off easy, in their opinion, while they are still suffering for their losses.

This is even more probable in a Ponzi scheme case, where personal losses are often life-changing. In the Scott Rothstein Ponzi Schemer case, Mr. Rothstein's wife, Kimberly Wendell Rothstein, was sentenced to 18 months, for attempting to hide, and ultimately sell, a million dollars worth of her personal jewelry. She began her sentence on March 14, 2014, nine and one-half months ago. Federal inmates receive 54 days per year off their sentences, for good conduct, but Mrs. Rothstein, who is presently in a Halfway House, now has a scheduled release date of March 1 of this year.

Just how does an 18-month sentence translate into a 12-month stay ? The answer is, it doesn't. Just prior to her entering Federal Prison, two sealed documents were filed in her case. Though not available to the public, one wonders if those are a government motion for entry of a sentence reduction, pursuant to Rule 35, and an order granting it. Is this what happened, and is this fact being withheld from public view for a valid law enforcement purpose, or merely to avoid negative publicity ?

If so, some of the victims of Scott Rothstein's billion dollar Ponzi scheme might be inclined to voice their displeasure, and I would join them; she received a short sentence, and to further reduce her incarceration insults the Ponzi victims.The business of our nation's courts must be transparent; what's in those two documents ?  

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