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South florida lawyer's scheme to defraud may exceed $1 billion

Posted on November 13, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Federal agents from Miami continue to dig deeper into what is becoming a massive scheme to defraud. Prominent South Florida Miami lawyer, Scott Rothstein's elaborate "Ponzi Scheme" could exceed $1 billion. For now, Rothstein remains out of custody, but an inevitable indictment will come down charging the lawyer with money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud and racketeering along with other charges. Rothstein is currently represented by one criminal defense attorney. Due to the severity of the allegations, he may choose to add other Broward or Miami criminal lawyers to his defense team.

Members of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a press conference requesting that people that were victimized in the investment scheme to defraud should come forward. The special agent in charge of the investigation told reporters that the fraud investigation will be one of the largest in South Florida history. He believes when the investigation is completed, losses will exceed $1 billion.

To date, criminal charges have not been filed against Rothstein. According to reports, he has spoken with investigators with the assistance of his lawyer. As Miami fraud defense lawyers, we always recommend to those being investigated by law enforcement, seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. After consulting with a criminal lawyer, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, an informed decision whether to speak with the authorities or not, can be made.

Rothstein has not been arrested because the agents involved in the case want to complete a thorough investigation. The agents are convinced that the scheme to defraud was too elaborate for one individual to be involved. It appears that Rothstein had co-conspirators who will also be arrested and charged in the case. If an indictment comes down, Rothstein and any other co-defendants will be arrested and taken before a magistrate in federal court to appear at a bond hearing. The magistrate will determine an appropriate bond in the case to ensure the defendants appearance at court hearings and trial if the case comes to that end.

The case under investigation is one of many that have come to light over the past 18 to 24 months. Although the amount alleged in the fraud committed in the Madoff and Stanford cases far exceeds this losses in this case, the victims of the purported fraud stands to lose significant assets as a result. Rothstein has promised to use everything in his power to recover the money lost. Only time will tell, but the most likely result is a long prison term.

FBI Says Florida Fraud Scheme Could Top $1 Billion, Reuters, November 12, 2009.
Categories: Fraud