"She is not the poster child for a greedy Ponzi wife — how hurtful, how inaccurate."
- Kim Rothstein's defense attorney
A Florida woman whose husband, Scott Rothstein, is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for masterminding one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, was sentenced to serve an 18-month prison term for hiding various jewelry from authorities - including a 12.08 carat diamond ring. Kim Rothstein, 39, received the sentence from U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum last week after previously pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. Immediately following the sentencing, Mrs. Rothstein was permitted to surrender at the federal detention center in Miami - provided she made the 30-minute trip from the Ft. Lauderdale courthouse without making any stops.
After authorities arrested her husband in October 2009, Mrs. Rothstein was present at the couple's home when federal authorities arrived to inventory and secure the couple's extensive collection of jewelry and luxury items. While Kim Rothstein assisted authorities in gathering the jewelry, it was later discovered that she had concealed several pieces of jewelry from authorities in what was later described as an "insurance policy" to help her with expenses. This jewelry included (i) a 12.08 carat diamond ring, (ii) an engagement ring and wedding band with 18 emerald cut diamonds, (iii) 10 watches, including a Rolex with leopard design, a woman's Piaget and a platinum/diamond Pierre Kunz, (iv) pearl, diamond, and sapphire cufflinks, and (v) 50 1-ounce gold bars.
Along with Kim Rothstein, authorities also charged her former lawyer, Scott Saidel, her friend Stacie Weisman, and several jewelers that participated in the sale of the jewelry. Rothstein, Weisman, and Saidel chose to plead guilty and cooperate with authorities, while the two jewelers have indicated they plan to contest the charges. Weisman recently received a three-month prison sentence, while Saidel received a three-year term that also included his agreement to turn over (1) $65,000 in legal fees paid by Kim Rothstein; (2) four expensive pens; and (3) a pair of mother of pearl, diamond, and sapphire cuff links.
While Kim Rothstein appeared to stand by her husband after his arrest and incarceration, that changed just before her sentencing when she took a variety of steps to distance herself from Scott Rothstein. This included a filing for divorce in which she levied allegations of physical and emotional abuse, as well as revealing for the first time that it was Scott Rothstein who had originally conceived the idea of hiding some jewelry from authorities to act as insurance for the "avalanche of litigation" that would soon ensue - an account that was seemingly confirmed by prosecutors. According to Kim Rothstein, she and her husband communicated in coded letters while he was incarcerated in an effort to coordinate the sale of the jewelry.
As part of Kim Rothstein's agreement with prosecutors, she also agreed to pay $515,000 and hand over dozens of valuable items, including the diamond ring, wedding and engagement rings and other jewelry, and numerous gold coins and gold bars.
For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.
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