Scott Rothstein, the Florida lawyer accused of running a mini-Madoff Ponzi scheme that cost investors a cool billion, has not yet been charged with any crime, but on Monday federal authorities filed court documents to seize assets that hint at the lavishness of his lifestyle. Among the items named were 20 luxury cars, 15 real-estate properties, an 87-foot yacht, 304 pieces of jewelry and $12 million stashed in Moroccan banks.
In a new civil suit, a group of three-dozen Rothstein investors alleges that TD Bank helped Rothstein run his scheme, and seeks more than $100 million in damages from the Canadian firm.
"The Ponzi scheme would never have worked without the bank's cooperation and blind eye of the senior management at TD Bank to what was going on there given the tremendous amount of my clients' money that was flowing through trust accounts in that bank," William R. Scherer, an attorney representing the investors, told ABC News.
In a statement, TD Bank denied any wrongdoing.
"It is best not to jump to conclusions on our involvement or speculating on the total dollar loss, if any, or any amounts held in our bank," said Rebecca S. Acevedo, public relations manager at TD Bank. "The claims are solely allegations and not evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of TD Bank."
Calls and e-mails to Rothstein's attorney, Marc Nurik, were not returned. In an interview with the New York Times, plaintiffs' attorney Scherer suggested that Rothstein must be cooperating with the federal government in order for authorities to inventory his assets in such detail. "He's clearly singing like a bird," said Scherer.
Rothstein, 47, was the managing shareholder, chairman and CEO of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, a Fort Lauderdale law firm that once had 70 attorneys. He is also alleged to have run a covert investment fund out of the law firm.
In late October, Rothstein flew to Morocco without his wife. The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that four days later, he texted partners at his law firm, saying he wouldn't see them again. "Sorry for letting you all down," he wrote. "I am a fool. I thought I could fix it, but got trapped by my ego and refusal to fail, and now all I have accomplished is hurting the people I love. Please take care of yourselves and please protect [my wife]. She knew nothing. Neither did she, nor any of you deserve what I did. I hope God allows me to see you on the other side. Love, Scott."
While Rothstein was out of the country, a Florida newspaper confirmed that investors had contacted federal prosecutors about his investment business, and that his law firm had contacted outside counsel.
Rothstein returned from Morocco on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and apparently met with federal prosecutors. Local investors filed their first lawsuit the same day, alleging losses of $3 million. The FBI and the IRS raided the offices of his law firm on Wednesday, Nov. 4. Documents filed by the IRS on Nov. 9 alleged a Ponzi scheme dating back to 2004. The FBI would later say the figures might exceed $1 billion.