Scott Rothstein Gets 50 Years In $1.2 Billion Ponzi Scheme

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.

Before his trip to Morocco, Rothstein was an important figure on the South Florida social and political scene. Rothstein was a major contributor to the Republican Party, as reported by ABC News. Political contributions to the state Democratic and Republican parties and to individual politicians have now been returned. Rothstein gave $9,600 to Republican Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign for the U.S. Senate and $6,000 to Democrat Alex Sink's gubernatorial campaign.

Rothstein gave big to charitable organizations and hospitals as well. All together, he donated $1.8 million to two Ft. Lauderdale hospitals -- $800,000 to Joe DiMaggio Children's and $1 million to Holy Cross.

The full extent of Rothstein's cooperation is still unclear, but it is known that before he was officially charged by federal authorities he aided a government sting that snared three men, including a man described as an Italian mobster by both U.S. and Italian authorities. Rothstein recorded conversations with the men. He allegedly asked Settineri to move cash and destroy documents for him.

In a statement filed with the court prior to sentencing, David Mandel, attorney for victims Coquina Investments and Emess Capital, disputed the notion that Rothstein deserved leniency for cooperation.

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"While Rothstein may have cooperated with 'some' victims and with the bankruptcy trustee," argued Mandel, "through his counsel he has refused to cooperate with other victims of his fraud."

After the sentencing, Mandel expressed his approval to ABC News. "The 50-year sentence imposed by Judge Cohn acknowledges the deep pain that Rothstein caused," said Mandel. "The result was well-reasoned and completely justified."

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