Imprisoned Fort Lauderdale Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein ratted out his favorite escort service to curry favors from federal authorities, ultimately causing the nation’s largest provider of call girls to shut down!
It’s one of the revelations in a new book about the Rothstein’s fall from grace set to hit bookstores early next month.
Pelican Publishing’s The Ultimate Ponzi: The Scott Rothstein Story was penned over two years by public relations executive Chuck Malkus, a former reporter at the Homestead daily South Dade News Leader.
Malkus said he became fascinated with the story from the day in December 2009 when heavily-armed FBI agents raided the posh offices of Rothstein’s law firm.
So happens Malkus watched from across the street.
“It was great street theater,” he recalls. “There were SWAT teams and machine guns.
“I represent many law firms, and they used to tell me they couldn’t figure out how Scott was so rich when you never saw him or his lawyers arguing cases in court.
“They told me there was no way that the business model of a law firm justified the kind of income that Scott had.
“That’s when I knew the story had legs.”
The book is based on more than 5,000 pages from court and law enforcement files, and exclusive interviews of business partners and friends of Rothstein’s.
Among them, two strippers from Lauderdale’s Solid Gold whom Rothstein juggled, along with at least four other regular squeezes and his wife.
The latter, Kim Rothstein, is scheduled to plead guilty Feb. 1 to a charge that she conspired to hide $1 million in jewelry from government seizure.
To make it less complicated for readers to keep track of Rothstein’s lovers, Malkus named the girls according to where they now live.
“There’s a Ms. North Beach, then we found out about Ms. South Beach, and they kept coming,” Malkus said.
“Scott’s appeal with women, in addition to spending money, was that he was a short guy with a funny face who could sing,” Malkus said. “The girls told me he’d sing to them. They found him cute.”
A disgraced lawyer who built a giant law firm on Las Olas in record time, Rothstein ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that eventually got him sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Rothstein escaped scrutiny for years, Malkus said, through his generous donations to dozens of unsuspecting charities.
“He spent more on charities and advertising than the city’s top three law firms combined,” Malkus said.
Among the tome’s revelations is the fact that, from behind bars, Rothstein may be responsible for the dismantlement of one of the country’s largest escort services, the Sunny Isles Beach- and Detroit-based Miami Companions.
Owner Greg Carr was arrested as a result of the investigation, and was recently released from federal prison after serving most of his 14-month sentence.
Eyes on the Ball
“I discovered that Rothstein was not only a client of the escort service, he was their attorney,” Malkus said. “It’s well known that Scott has been singing like a canary in trying to have his sentence reduced.”
So, what’s Malkus’ theory about why Rothstein became a thief?
“It’s more about ego than anything else with Scott,” Malkus said.
“The worst is that his scheme could have continued for decades like (Bernie) Madoff’s. But Scott took his eyes off the ball. He started neglecting the business because of his philandering. No CEO could run a business while partying for half a dozen women every night.”
The book release party is scheduled to take place at the Royal Pig Pub on Las Olas, across the street from Rothstein’s old offices.
Read Jose Lambiet’s columns Sundays and Thursdays in the Miami Herald
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