No break for Roth­stein on his 50-year sen­tence

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Paula McMa­hon Staff writer SEN­TENCE , 2B

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

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