BULLETIN: Ponzi Swindler And Racketeer Scott Rothstein Sentenced To 50 Years In Federal Prison For $1.2 Billion Scam; Schemer Forged Judges’ Signatures, Threatened Reporter

BULLETIN: Scott Rothstein, the disbarred Florida lawyer who sold interests in nonexistent legal settlements, forged the signatures of federal judges on court documents to hoodwink investors and keep money flowing to his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme and threatened to sue a reporter asking tough questions, has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison.

Rothstein, one day shy of his 48th birthday, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Cohn.

His lawyer had sought a 30-year sentence. Prosecutors recommended 40 years, based on Rothstein’s post-arrest cooperation. Rothstein faced a maximum sentence of 100 years.

By comparison, infamous Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for his $65 billion fraud. Tom Petters, who hatched a massive Ponzi scheme involving bogus sales of merchandise to prominent retailers, was sentenced to 50 years for his $3.65 billion fraud.

Guessing the length of Rothstein’s sentence had become sport on the Internet, with people from all over the world advancing their notions.

In the end, Cohn said Rothstein, who also threatened to sue at least one reporter who was in the process of exposing the fraud, deserved 50 years. The scheme destroyed the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm in Fort Lauderdale and has subjected multiple people to investigation, indictments and lawsuits.

Rothstein pleaded for mercy, saying he was a “changed man” who had contemplated suicide while operating the scheme but ultimately returned from Morocco to face the charges and assist prosecutors in their efforts to untangle the colossal mess.

The elaborate Ponzi fraud included bogus legal settlements, forged court documents, fraudulent promissory notes, fraudulent campaign donations and gratuities paid to “high ranking members of police agencies,” prosecutors said.

Rothstein forfeited $1.2 billion, 24 pieces of real estate, luxury cars such as Bugattis, Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs, yachts, shares in businesses and more.

Here are snippets from Rothstein’s letter to Cohn that asked for fairness and mercy (italics added):

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