South Florida Sun-Sentinel
December 11, 2009
Position Managing shareholder, chairman and CEO of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, Fort Lauderdale.
Personal Born: June 1962 Marriage: First marriage ends in divorce in 2003; no children. Second marriage to Kimberly Ann Wendell, January 2008 Children: One daughter
Education Nova Southeastern University Law Center, J.D., 1988; University of Florida, B.A., 1984
Political Heavy-hitter for the Republican Party, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Major supporter and fundraiser for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain and an early backer of Gov. Charlie Crist and Broward County Sheriff Al LambertiPartners with Republican operative Roger Stone. Recently threw support behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink - his firm gave $200,000 to the Florida Democratic Party in September.
Wealth $36.5 million in real estate $13 million in cars and boats $1.9 million in political contributions
September: Joins Phillips, Eisinger, Koss & Rosenfeldt as a partner. The Hollywood-based firm's new name is Phillips, Eisinger, Koss, Rothstein & Rosenfeldt.
Rothstein founded the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm with Stuart Rosenfeldt . It grew from seven lawyers to over 70 at its peak.
July: Joins restaurateurs Tony and Laurie Bova's restaurant group. Jackson's Steakhouse in Fort Lauderdale joins The BOVA Group stable of restaurants, which now operates BOVA Prime in Las Olas, BOVA Ristorante and BOVA Cucina in Boca Raton, and Jackson's Steakhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
August 25: Appointed by Gov. Crist to the 4th District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission.
September: Receives the Broward County Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Community Service Award.
October 6: Former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne, a disbarred and disgraced Democrat who pleaded guilty to four federal felonies, takes a job with the consulting and lobbying arm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler a week after leaving federal prison.
November: Named Outstanding Philanthropist by various nonprofit agencies, fundraising professionals and philanthropists at a Signature Grand luncheon attended by more than 700 people.
January 12: One of 12 members appointed by Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter to the County Courthouse Task Force
April 18: Serves with his wife as co-chairpersons of the American Heart Association's Broward County Heart Ball.
July 10: The Sun Sentinel reports Rothstein is paying Fort Lauderdale police to guard his home 24 hours a day at a cost of $1,080 a day, or $394,200 a year.
July 27: Jackson's Steakhouse in Fort Lauderdale is joins The BOVA Group stable of restaurants. Jack Jackson is president and chief operating officer; Rothstein is BOVA Chairman.
October 27: Rothstein flies to Morocco. He is escorted to the airport by David Benjamin, a lieutenant and a top aide to Sheriff Al Lamberti.
October 31: Rothstein sends a desperate text message to his law firm's five partners indicating they wouldn't see him again.
November 1: The Sun Sentinel confirms that Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler hired former Miami U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey to look into matters involving Rothstein. In addition, a member of the firm - Marc Nurik - resigned so he could represent Rothstein. Also, Banyan, an investment group that includes Fort Lauderdale businessman George Levin, contacted federal prosecutors with concerns about "suspicious activity."
November 2: Founding partner and president Stuart Rosenfeldt of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt & Adler says he had no clue about the financial schemes that would collapse the firm. At least six of RRA's attorneys - including Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams - have resigned from the firm's South Florida offices, along with the entire Caracas, Venezuela, branch operation, which had at least 15 lawyers. Rothstein's whereabouts are unknown, Marc Nurik, Rothstein's attorney, vows he will return after getting away to "clear his head."
Fort Lauderdale Police Department yanked police officers from security details at his home, restaurant and law office.
November 3: Rothstein returns at 12:50 p.m. landing in a chartered jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Flight tracking records show that about the time Rothstein arrived at the airport, a chartered Gulfstream V jet from Casablanca, Morocco, touched down. The same jet flew from Fort Lauderdale to Casablanca on Oct. 27. Rosenfeldt said he was told that Rothstein met with federal prosecutors after his chartered plane lands.
First investor lawsuit filed against Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler by FDS Investments USA LLC, an Aventura company that says it lost more than $3 million
November 4: More than 10 Fort Lauderdale police officers surround the building where Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler law firm is, downtown off Las Olas Boulevard.. Rosenfeldt said the firm called police because some lawyers feared he'd return to the firm to "reassert control.''
Retired Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Herbert Stettin is named the firm's receiver, responsible for approving the firm's day-to-day financial decisions. Rosenfeldt is responsible for the firm's legal decisions.
Dozens of FBI and IRS agents spend spent 7 1/2 hours and seize 44 boxes of evidence from the law firm. They focus on a tightly secured suite that only Rothstein and a few key staff members had access to. Agents also searched the office of Debra Villegas, the firm's chief operating officer.
November 5: William Scherer, a lawyer representing an investment group owed about $75 million, said he is investigating TD Bank's role in the scandal. TD Bank maintained accounts for the investment business that Rothstein covertly ran from his law firm.
November 6: At a court hearing attorneys from the firm say Rothstein removed money from the law firm's trust accounts as well as its operating accounts. What funds remain are mostly from a $200,000 check the state Democratic Party returned.
November 9: Federal court documents filed by the Internal Revenue Service show Rothstein ran a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars since 2005. Rothstein vows to WSVN-Ch. 7 that he would pay back investors.
November 9: Federal agents seize Rothstein's high-end sports cars, including Bugatti Veyrons worth about $1.6 million apiece, 87-foot yacht and four guns. They also placed liens on eight properties worth a total of $18.3 million - which federal authorities say he could not afford before orchestrating the alleged fraud. Among those properties is his $6.45 million Harbor Beach neighborhood home, one of three locations hit by the FBI and IRS in coordinated seizures.
November 10: Investors file involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions against the law firm citing claims that total more than $1.15 million. The law firm is in the process of being dissolved. An attorney for four clients wrote that the law firm received a $1.4 million wire transfer to an escrow account Oct. 29 which was moved to the firm's operating account the next day and was immediately spent.
November 11: Lawyers for auto dealership kingpin Ed Morse, 88, file a motion to be kept apprised of any developments in a forced bankruptcy action against the firm after Rothstein bamboozled him into handing over $57 million in another scheme involving a lawsuit with an interior designer and fake court documents.
November 12: FBI says the alleged investment scam may exceed $1 billion in victims' investments and reach international shores.
November 14: Attorney Bill Scherer said the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm has a $500 million malpractice insurance policy, but that if everybody lawyers up and sues then they may be no money for the victims because the money will be used to reimburse legal fees. Scherer said investors should allow attorneys to make a claim in state court against TD Bank, so that lawyers don't chew up all the money.
November 14: The Sun-Sentinel reports that 28 city police officials, including captains, majors, undercover officers and the department spokesman, helped guard Rothstein's home and businesses.
November 16: Attorney Bill Scherer, who represents several defrauded investors, says that he has verified that Rothstein wired $18 million to Morocco shortly before Rothstein flew there on Oct. 27. "Whether it came back or not, I don't know," Scherer said. More than $200 million went through Rothstein's accounts in October, according to Scherer.
November 17: The Florida Bar's executive committee approves Rothstein's request for disbarment a day after he submitted it to the Fort Lauderdale office.
November 18: Fort Lauderdale's Holy Cross Hospital announces that it is rejecting a $1-million donation from Rothstein "in light of the recent allegations" against him.
November 20: Attorney Bill Scherer fileds a lawsuit on behalf of investors who say they were defrauded by Rothstein, with help from a few others and TD Bank.
November 20: Defense lawyers for Tony Villegas say they would conducta parallel investigation into attorney Melissa Britt Lewis' March 2008 murder in the wake of the Ponzi scheme allegations involving Rothstein and the the RRA law firm, where Lewis worked at the time of her death.
November 20: The Florida asks the state Supreme Court to disbar Rothstein.
November 20: The RRA law firm moves into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Federal Judge Raymond B. Ray rules the firm will be allowed to pay for employees' health insurance and the small payroll of the remaining 14 employees.
November 20: A Fort Lauderdale family who invested more than $100 million with file a lawsuit against him, TD Bank and three of its executives, and four people inside Rothstein's law firm. The ivestors' lawsuit says that Linda and Doug Von Allmen and his stepson, Dean Kretschmar, bought into the scheme with assurances from TD Bank, whose executives duped them and helped Rothstein manipulate bank statements.
November 23: Rothstein's tentacles extended into nearly 100 corporations and businesses, according to federal prosecutors, including a California software company and a Pembroke Pines nightclub, as well as equity interests in two banks, a chain of fancy restaurants, a luxury watch business, a mortgage company and an alternative biofuel company. according to new documents filed in federal bankruptcy court . The court documents listed more than $17 million in bank accounts, including $15 million in three Moroccan accounts aaccording to new documents filed in federal bankruptcy court
November 24: Gov. Charlie Crist suspends Rothstein, his appointee, from the Fourth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission.
November 25: The Sun-Sentinel reports about 30 charities that were recipients of gifts from Rothstein have been asked to return the money in 10 days or face a lawsuit, according to a letter sent by the trustee and attorneys handling RRA's federal bankruptcy case.
November 25: The Sun-Sentinel reports on a confidential offering memo to potential investors dated April 30 by Fort Lauderdale hedge fund operator George Levin offering some staggering numbers: His Banyon companies had already bought more than $1 billion in legal settlements from Rothstein. The cost: $657 million. By the end of March, the companies had been paid $531 million in returns. They listed another $559 million still due from the investments. He was soliciting money for his new hedge fund: Banyon Income Fund Limited Partnership. The memo was in court papers.
November 25: A new court filing expands on a lawsuit filed on behalf of Doug Von Allmen and other investors. It adds seven new defendants, including Levin, Banyon, and Irene Stay, the chief financial officer of Rothstein's law firm. The suit says that on Nov. 1, a group of 17 Rothstein investors - including Ed and Ted Morse of the auto dealership family - convened, and George Levin told the group that he had reached out to Rothstein to let him know Banyon could cover shortfalls,.
November 26: It is reported that the Florida Bar has opened investigations into four attorneys who worked at Rothstein's now defunct law firm: Stuart Rosenfeldt, co-founder and co-owner of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Russell Adler, David Boden and Grant Smith, said Florida Bar spokesman Francine Walker.
November 27: Federal prosecutors file an amended forfeiture suit Rothstein added four multimillion-dollar properties to their seizure list properties include a Boca Raton home formerly owned by auto dealership magnate Ed Morse which was bought by Morse in January for $9 million but prosecutors say was bought by a Rothstein company, JB Boca M Holdings LLC, in September for $7.2 million.Other properties include two side-by-side homes on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island bought for $5.6 million and a Manhattan condo bought for $6 million. Prosecutors also are seeking to seize two commercial properties in Boca Raton.
December 1: Rothstein is arrested on federal charges accusing him of racketeering and conspiracy to commit fraud in a massive $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme he allegedly ran from his law firm in downtown Fort Lauderdale. A handcuffed Rothstein, 47, was escorted by federal agents into the FBI office in North Miami Beach shortly before 8 a.m. He was picked up by agents at an undisclosed Broward hotel. He pleads not guilty to five charges in federal court, punishable by 100 years in prison. The charges include including racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud.
December 2, 2009: Newly filed court documents show that Rothstein quietly reached a deal with federal prosecutors last month to surrender his homes, cars and all of his business interests. Also U.S. District Judge James Cohn issues an order scheduling Rothstein's trial to open Jan. 11 at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale
December 3: Top 20 Rothstein creditors with unsecured claims revealed. They are: Banyon Investments, LLC, of Fort Lauderdale- $320,613,539 Ira Sochet Trustee, of Miami- $147,300,000 Banyon 1030-32, LCC, of Fort Lauderdale- $146,272,500 Banyon Funding, LCC, of Fort Lauderdale- $143,959,630 Banyon Income Fund LP, of Fort Lauderdale- $130,877,024 EMESS Capital LLC, of Brooklyn, NY- $60,000,000 Morse Operations, of Fort Lauderdale- $44,482,110 Coquina Investments, of Corpus Christi, TX- $37,700,000 Banyon Resources, of Fort Lauderdale- $33,471,250 ABS Capital Funding, of Surfside- $31,000,000 Shimon Levy, of Sunrise- $28,145,000 D3 Capital Club LLC, of Fort Lauderdale- $13,500,000 Ovadia Levy, of Plantation - $12,551,100 Attorney Herman Shtern at law IOTA Trust- Brooklyn- $11,000,000 Wak Boys LLC, Montvale, NJ- $8,780,000 Investors Risk Advantage, of Miami- $7,450,000 Daniel Minkowitz, of Plantation- $6,475,000 Caro Group, of Miami- $5,330,000 Serber & Associates, of Miami- $5,280,000 Via Salve LLC, Wheaton, Ill.- $5,000,000
December 5: The Sun-Sentinel reports that Rothstein's reported compensation at his law firm last year averaged close to $100,000 a day, or nearly $3 million per month, according to a court-appointed trustee in the firm's bankruptcy case.
December 7: U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn orders that none of Rothstein's assets are prematurely sold or transferred or damaged. The assets include 24 properties in Florida, New York and Rhode Island and numerous exotic cars included Ferraris and Rolls-Royces.
December 11: The Sun Sentinel reports that the city of Fort Lauderdale is investigating whether an August 21 traffic accident case was improperly influenced by Police Chief Frank Adderley 's friendship with Rothstein. Photos emerged the day before that appear to show Adderley at a crash scene, standing inches from Rothstein. Involved in the crash: a close friend of Rothstein's, Muhammad "Moe" Sohail of Ultimate Cigars, riding as a passenger in his Bentley.
Sources: Sun Sentinel, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler website, US States News, South Florida Business Journal, Las Olas Lifestyle
Compiled by Sun Sentinel researcher Barbara Hijek
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