Seldom has a South Florida figure flown so high, so visibly, so fast – and plummeted so dramatically.Investors now fear that Rothstein has been running a giant Ponzi scheme ala Bernie Madoff. According to a complaint filed against Rothstein, a review of his law firm's records showed various funds controlled by Rothstein could not be accounted for. Some investors are alleging that Rothstein may have been fabricating nonexistent structured legal settlements for sale to investors. Rothstein had several honorary designations as an attorney, including Florida's Top Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America.
Attorney Scott Rothstein's meteoric rise into the stratosphere of local politics, sports and philanthropy is suspected to have been propelled by millions of dollars handed to him by investors blinded by the glitter of a too-good-to-be-true deal.
Geysers of cash flowed from the flamboyant lawyer, who purchased a veneer of legitimacy through millions of donations to local charities. A hospital is building a lobby dedicated to his family; a Chabad synagogue already bears his name. Millions more went to expensive acquisitions suitable for a Middle East potentate.
The smooth-talking lawyer sat at the center of an empire that included fancy restaurants, million-dollar homes, flashy cars (two $1.6 million Bugattis among them), sports sponsorships, businesses and a nonprofit foundation.
He collected watches – and politicians, and sports celebs. He hosted fundraising parties for presidential candidate John McCain and Gov. Charlie Crist. His image, along with football great Dan Marino's, adorned charity billboards along Interstate 95.
Now Rothstein has achieved a new notoriety: a cadre of federal agents is poring through his accounts, contemplating charges, while investors seethe over their losses.
Rothstein should be a reminder to the public that just because an attorney may have been designated a "Super Lawyer" or a "Best Lawyer", it may mean little about the persons ethics or true professional capability. Some attorneys in Indiana boast of being designated a Super Lawyer. Many attorneys, including me, laugh at some of the individuals who make the list when it gets distributed with the Indiana Lawyer. We refuse to participate in the charade of a survey process that is used to arrive at the designation of an individual attorney. Clearly, the designation has more to do with being employed by the right big law firm or being a member of a connected medium or small-sized firm. State attorney disciplinary commissions should bar the use of these self-serving designations in attorney advertising. New Jersey barred their use and then reversed itself. Anyone who has studied how the results are obtained knows that it is nothing more than an advertising scam for the legal publications that sponsor the Super Lawyer designation in each respective state, devoid of true objectivity in the selection process. It is misleading to the public to make it appear someone is better as an attorney than others because they've played the game to get the Super Lawyer or Best Lawyer designation.