Ponzi Lawyer Arrested, Pleads Not Guilty

Scott Rothstein faces up to 100 years in prison
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 2:34 PM CST
Attorney Marc Nurik speaks to the media outside federal court after his client, attorney Scott?Rothstein appeared before a judge Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Newser) – Federal agents arrested runaway attorney Scott Rothstein in Fort Lauderdale this morning, charging him with racketeering and other crimes that could land him in prison for up to 100 years. Hours later Rothstein appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. The disbarred lawyer is accused of running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scam, telling clients they were buying shares of future settlements in what turned out to be imaginary lawsuits.

Rothstein fled to Morroco when the scheme came to light in October, but returned in early November. He’s being held without bail, because the government considers him a flight risk. But the fact that Rothstein waived indictment today, agreeing to be charged on "information," could mean that he’s struck a deal with prosecutors, the Miami Herald reports. He certainly didn’t seem worried in court, striding in nonchalantly in his blue jeans and handcuffs, spinning in his chair, and even winking to a reporter as he left.

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