Back on Nov. 11, we discussed the story of the wife of a Fort Lauderdale man currently serving 50 years in prison for running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. The wife herself was facing felony charges for hiding $1 million in jewelry, which federal authorities would have seized to help pay back the husband’s victims.
We can now provide an update to that story. The wife, who has since filed for divorce, was sentenced to one and a half years in prison on Dec. 12. Though she tearfully said at the sentencing hearing that she was “willing to pay the consequences” of her actions, and has cooperated with authorities, the woman has sought to portray her hiding of the jewels as a source of funds in case of divorce.
The woman was married to Scott Rothstein. Their life of luxury came to an end soon after he suddenly fled the country in November 2009. He later returned and was tried on numerous fraud charges related to the sale of legal settlements to investors in Florid and elsewhere.
His wife said that she had begun hiding jewelry in 2009, as her marriage began falling apart. Among the items that she did not turn over to the IRS in the investigation into her husband’s affairs was a 12.08-carat yellow diamond ring. After Rothstein was arrested, she, her attorney and a friend sold more than $1 million worth of the concealed items, including jewelry and collectible coins.
The attorney and the friend both pleaded guilty in October.
Even in cases where a spouse in a complex divorce fears that he or she will receive only a small portion of the martial property, illegal activity is never the answer. Doing so will likely only create more problems than going through the divorce process honestly.
Source: Miami Herald, “Wife of Fort Lauderdale Ponzi schemer Rothstein gets one and a half years in prison,” Jay Weaver, Dec. 12, 2013