'Miami's Madoff' Scott Rothstein arrested for alleged $1b Ponzi scheme
Attorney Scott Rothstein faces up to 100 years in jail over racketeering, money laundering charges.
A disbarred Florida lawyer accused by the FBI of running a $1 billion investment scam was arrested Tuesday on racketeering conspiracy charges, The Miami Herald reported.
Attorney Scott Rothstein, who was disbarred last week by the Florida Supreme Court, pleaded not guilty before a magistrate judge in Fort Lauderdale.
He is accused of mail, wire and bank fraud, along with money laundering, the Miami Herald said. If convicted, he faces up to 100 years in prison and forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits.
The FBI said in November that Rothstein, 47, was suspected of running an elaborate Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $1 billion.
Court documents said he had been selling nonexistent legal settlements to unsuspecting investors since at least 2005, using new investor money to pay previous investors in the classic Ponzi scheme model. He has been dubbed "Miami's Madoff," after the epic swindler Bernard Madoff.
FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided his Fort Lauderdale law office and seized his waterfront home, yacht and other assets in Florida and elsewhere.
Rothstein, a frequent contributor to political campaigns who was often photographed with politicians, had a lavish lifestyle with opulent homes and a fleet of foreign sports cars. He used his connections and charm to lure wealthy friends and patrons to invest with him.