Florida attorney Scott Rothstein became famous in the environs of Miami and Fort Lauderdale for both puffing on and stockpiling cigars.
But he’ll no longer have the opportunity to seek to impress members of the Florida Bar as a cigar aficionado. In fact, even his days as a purported legal aficionado have come to an end.
Rothstein will be disbarred permanently, pending an order by the Florida Supreme Court.
“The Florida Bar and Scott W. Rothstein have agreed to his permanent disbarment — subject to the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida — in lieu of Rothstein defending himself against allegations of disciplinary violations,” said Florida Bar President Jesse H. Diner.
“Rothstein was under investigation for violations of The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, including misappropriation of funds from trust accounts,” Diner said.
“The Florida Bar has been monitoring the federal investigation of Mr. Rothstein and we have been in contact with the court-appointed receiver for the firm as well as the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office,” Diner said. “While the case is very complex, it became evident that Bar rules may have been violated.”
It’s bad for all attorneys and the public when a lawyer disgraces the trade, Diner said.
“This is a terribly unfortunate and tragic situation, but it is also a rare circumstance in the legal profession,” he said. “The great majority of Florida attorneys serve their clients admirably and in accordance with the Barâ€™s rules of professional conduct. However, rule violations are not tolerated and the Bar takes appropriate actions to protect the public against further harm. The Florida Bar will continue to investigate any violations of its rules by other attorneys who may have been involved in this case.”
No charges have been brought against Rothstein, but a sweeping probe into his business practices continues. The FBI said the alleged Ponzi and fraud scheme could involve more than $1 billion.
See earlier story.