A $1.2 billion "Pozni Scheme" created and operated by a Ft. Lauderdale lawyer has caused significant incomes for all types of South Florida lawyers. Hundreds of former employees, investors and creditors have lost jobs and millions of dollars as a result of the alleged massive scheme to defraud conceived by Scott Rothstein. As others suffer, various types of South Florida lawyers are earning large sums of money due to their involvement in all aspects of the case. Experts have determined that different types of lawyers from Miami criminal lawyers, Broward banking and insurance attorneys, as well as, lawyers working for two law firms assisting the receiver will make in excess of $15 million for their involvement in the case. The criminal defense lawyer representing Rothstein is under the impression that he will enter a guilty plea in federal court later this week.
The lawyer set to earn the most money for his involvement in the case is Miami-Dade Senior Judge Herb Stettin who was appointed to act as the receiver in the case by a Broward County judge. Stettin is responsible for receiving and distributing all of the items seized by federal authorities in asset forfeiture actions. Stettin is expected to make millions as a result of the receivership according to experts cited by the Miami Herald. The authorities have seized millions of dollars in assets from Rothstein's estate including expensive sports cars, mansions, jewelry and other assets belonging to his former seventy member Ft. Lauderdale law firm. Lawyers from investors, creditors and the like are lining up to collect the proceeds from these assets.
Rothstein is currently charged by indictment for mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering and is facing dozens of years in federal prison. Rothstein has not directly spoken with federal investigators or prosecutors working on the case. His criminal attorney has acted as an intermediary in any communications directed toward the authorities. Rothstein is set to enter a change of plea on January 27, 2009. Apparently, a plea agreement has been reached because the hearing date has not been postponed. The terms of the agreement will be released when the plea is taken by the federal judge.
Once Rothstein enters a guilty plea, a sentencing date will be set in three or four months. During that time, a federal probation officer will compile a pre-sentence investigation which will include a background history of the defendant. Additionally, the probation department will determine the potential sentence using the federal sentencing guidelines. The pre-sentence investigation report will be provided the judge, defense counsel and the prosecution. Rothstein's defense team and federal prosecutors will have the opportunity to file objections prior to the sentencing hearing in federal court. The word on the street is that Rothstein will probably receive a twenty year prison sentence. The sentence is along the lines the punishment doled out to Mark Dreier, the New York lawyer, who sold false investment notes and stole from clients. The biggest problem Rothstein faces other than the amount of money involved in the the scheme to defraud, is the fact that evidence apparently exists that will be submitted to the court that Rothstein forged judges signatures and fraudulently created fake civil court settlements and sold them to investors.
Scott Rothstein Case Seen as Economic Boon for Lawyers, The Miami Herald, January 27, 2010.