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Broward Lawyer Contemplating Plea Agreement

Posted on January 07, 2010 3:00 AM EST

Disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein is allegedly going enter a guilty plea into charges including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Prior to entering a plea, his Miami criminal lawyer is attempting to determine who suffered losses a result of the massive scheme to defraud. According to Rothstein's defense team, many of the individuals suffered losses as a result of feeder funds and other unnamed individuals. According to his Miami criminal defense attorney, 'Rothstein dealt with only a very limited number of people. He is surprised at the amount of people who actually claimed to be investors." The comments make sense in light of the fact that court documents and prosecutors refer to co-conspirators as being involved in the "Ponzi" scheme.

Rothstein's lawyer told a federal judge that his client intends on pleading guilty. He essentially told reporters the same thing outside of the courthouse. Rothstein's defense team has alluded to the fact that Rothstein intends on repaying all legitimate investors who lost money as a result of the scheme. There are other investors and investment funds that are alleged to have known of the "Ponzi" scheme and will not be entitled to restitution. They may also find their names added to the indictment.

To date, Rothstein has not spoken with federal investigators about the case. His Miami criminal attorney has acted as an intermediary in providing information to the authorities. The information provided thus far has been limited to Rothstein's involvement and does not allege any wrongdoing by co-conspirators. Rothstein is set to enter a change of plea on January 27, 2009, however, the hearing may be delayed if a plea agreement is not consummated between the government and the defense. An agreement may not be reached of Rothstein decides not to provide information regarding co-conspirators. Another delay in the change of plea maybe caused by a signed court order which will require the court to hold McLain hearing to determine if Rothstein's defense lawyer is the subject of related criminal investigation. The lawyer was previously employed by Rothstein's firm.

Eventually, Rothstein will enter a guilty plea. Once he has changed his plea, a sentencing date will be set in three or four months. During that time, the federal probation department will conduct a pre-sentence investigation which will include a background history of the defendant. Additionally, the probation department will calculate the potential sentence using the federal sentencing guidelines. The report will be provided the judge, the government and the defense. The defense and government will have the opportunity to file objections prior to the sentencing hearing in federal court. Rothstein could possibly receive approximately twenty years like Mark Dreier, the New York lawyer who sold false investment notes and stole from clients. The biggest problem Rothstein faces other than the charges themselves, is the fact that he forged judges signatures and created fake court regarding civil court settlements and sold them to investors.

Rothstein Guilty Plea on the Horizon, Law.com, January 7, 2010.
Categories: Fraud