Reporting Peter D’Oench
MIAMI (CBS4) – It is an opportunity that prominent Fort Lauderdale attorney William Scherer said he has been waiting for: the chance to interrogate disgraced Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.
Scherer was among 30 attorneys who are representing investors from all around the U.S. who have filed lawsuits in the $1.2 billion fraud case against Rothstein and who have many questions about where the money is and where the money was spent.
Scherer and four attorneys from his firm will spend the next two weeks on the 11th floor of the building in Miami that also houses the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said he hopes to get the answers that he is looking for on behalf of his 50 clients from around the U.S. who were all investors who were cheated out of money.
“We’re just looking for Mr. Rothstein’s views and versions of what happened in this Ponzi scheme,” said Scherer.
Scherer said $360 million was stolen from investors in a Ponzi scheme that was part of the $1.2 billion fraud. He said trustees have already recovered $100 million of that $360 million and so he is opmistic that this will be a “hugely successful recovery” of money lost in the Ponzi scheme.
“I guess as a citizen of South Florida,” Scherer told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench, “we would like to know the ins and outs of the law firm. What I’m hearing saddens me for my practice and for my profession. Mr. Rothstein admits to being a huge corruptor of people, of businesses and of institutions in the Ponzi scheme.”
“This is an astounding case,” said Scherer. “It has been from the beginning and I have been in it for 2 years. This may just be the tip of the iceberg. I do think we’re doing very well. My clients represent two thirds of the losses and the trustees have recovered $100 million of $360 million lost in the Ponzi scheme. So we are doing well. But we have a lot of litigating to do.”
Scherer said about 20 attorneys from his law firm are working on the case. While he is not allowed to talk about what happened behind closed doors; his law firm will be asking a bankruptcy Judge in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday to allow transcripts of each day’s session in Miami to be released after each day’s session.
Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison term after pleading guilty to several charges in the fraud, some of them tied to investments in fake legal settlements.
Rothstein is in the federal witness protection program because he helped convict a man with ties to organized crime. He has not been seen by the public being brought in to the federal building because had been taken in through a private entrance.
Among the attorneys at the federal courthouse is Sam Rabin, who told Peter D’Oench that he is representing banker Frank Spinosa, who Rabin says is accused of trying to help Rothstein. And Rabin is skeptical about Rothstein.
“My concern is that anybody would believe Scott Rothstein and that would be very scary because I don’t believe this man is credible and I don’t believe he is worthy of belief.”