FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein erupted when questioned about the murder of one of former law partners, according to a transcript of a deposition released Tuesday.
The questioning came during several days of depositions Rothstein gave last month to lawyers, many of whom are suing him on behalf of bilked investors.
At one point during the exchange with attorney Mary Barzee-Flores, she asked him about the murder of Melissa Lewis. Lewis was found murdered in a canal in 2008.
“(Melissa Lewis) was murdered because she knew too much, right?” Barzee-Flores asked, referring to Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme.
Rothstein responded, “Excuse me? Are you attempting to insinuate that I had something to do with that poor girl’s death? Have you lost your mind?”
Barzee-Flores responded, “You would deny that?”
Rothstein said, “I would deny it? You’re disgusting. Everyone knows that I wasn’t involved in it. That’s disgusting.”
Later in the deposition, Rothstein added “Melissa Lewis was a good person. She didn’t know too much. She was killed by a psychopath. And you’re disgusting for doing that.”
Tony Villegas is accused of murdering Melissa Lewis. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.
However, there is a connection between Villegas and Rothstein.
Tony Villegas is the ex-husband of Rothstein’s former chief operating officer Debra Villegas. She is serving 10 years in prison for helping Rothstein carry out the Ponzi scheme.
Villegas lawyer, Bruce Fleisher, told CBS 4’s Carey Codd that he is planning to take the murder case to trial.
Fleisher admitted that evidence reveals that Villegas’ DNA was on a piece of clothing worn by Melissa Lewis.
However, Fleisher said that “evidence can be planted and Debra & Tony were married. Tony had been to Melissa Lewis’ home.”
In the transcript released Tuesday, Rothstein admitted he once had an affair with Lewis when she was a student of his.
Barzee-Flores also questioned whether Rothstein had any involvement in the suicides of two former employees — a law clerk and a bodyguard — after his Ponzi scheme imploded.
Rothstein responded, “I didn’t have anything to do with those deaths.”
Rothstein said he is coming clean about his scheme in the hopes of getting his 50 year prison sentence reduced.