No break for Rothstein on his 50-year sentence
Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein won’t get any reduction in his 50-year federal prison sentence despite arguing he deserved one for cooperating with the feds, who say he lied to them, a judge ruled Monday.
Rothstein, 55, pleaded guilty to orchestrating a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme from his downtown Fort Lauderdale law firm after the massive fraud imploded in late 2009.
Rothstein and his attorney have spent the past several months trying to persuade the sentencing judge to side with them and require federal prosecutors to recommend a cut in Rothstein’s punishment.
The defense argued that prosecutors improperly withdrew their offer after Rothstein cooperated in the investigation, worked under cover for them and pleaded guilty to the federal charges.
Prosecutors said that Rothstein, a disbarred attorney, violated the explicit terms of his plea agreement by lying to them and committing additional crimes after he signed the cooperation agreement.
On Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge James Cohn, the sentencing judge, filed a ninepage ruling that prosecutors were correct and Rothstein was wrong.
The terms of the agreement stated that prosecutors could bow out if Rothstein failed to live up to his side of the bargain, the judge found.
“This adequately put Rothstein on notice of the potential consequences of his untruthfulness,” Judge Cohn wrote.
Rothstein has served about 8 ½ years of his punishment so far. He is serving his sentence in the federal Bureau of Prisons’ top secret witness protection program for inmates. Authorities have said he is in one of the secure prisons used for inmates who are considered to be more at risk of retaliation