The wife of Scott Rothstein, a disbarred Florida attorney who ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, illegally hid $1 million in jewelry from U.S. authorities trying to seize his assets to repay investors, prosecutors charged.
Kimberly Wendell Rothstein, 38, was charged with four other people today with lying after Internal Revenue Service agents tried to confiscate the jewelry, including a 12-carat yellow diamond ring. Rothstein amassed tens of millions of dollars in real estate, cars, boats, luxury watches, jewelry and sports memorabilia during his Ponzi scheme, authorities said.
Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison term, agreed in November 2009 to plead guilty and forfeit his illegal gains. When agents showed up on Nov. 9, 2009, Kimberly Rothstein held back some jewelry, U.S. prosecutors said in court papers filed in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. She and a friend sold some jewelry and joined others in covering up their actions by lying during bankruptcy proceedings, according to court papers.
“The integrity of our system of justice is based on the truthfulness of every witness that participates in the process,” Wifredo Ferrer, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a statement. “When a witness lies under oath or conspires to obstruct justice, the integrity of our system of justice is undermined.”
Kimberly Rothstein was charged with Stacie Weisman, 49, and Scott Saidel, 45, with conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruct justice and tamper with a witness. Eddy Marin, 50, and Patrick Daoud, 54, were charged with perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Prosecutors seek forfeiture of five diamond rings, 10 watches, two bracelets, four necklaces, five pairs of earrings, 50 gold bars, and various coins from the U.S., Canada, South Africa, England and China.
“My guess is that this will resolve itself in a guilty plea,” David K. Tucker, an attorney for Kimberly Rothstein, said in a telephone interview.
“Kim would like to take the opportunity to express her disappointment, shame, and sadness in regard to all of the victims” of her husband’s Ponzi scheme, Tucker said. “She had no involvement or knowledge of his fraudulent activity. She takes full responsibility for her actions in regard to the charge filed today.”
The cases are U.S. v. Marin, 12-cr-60205, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale) and U.S. v. Kimberly Wendell Rothstein, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).