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Lawyers go after Ponzi scammer Scott Rothstein's wife's expenditures

Kim Rothstein, the wife of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, was sued in federal bankruptcy court Wednesday by a team of attorneys trying to recover more than $1 million from the purported shopaholic.

In particular, the bankruptcy lawyers have their eyes on hundreds of thousands of dollars that she spent on shoes, jewelry, clothing and designer purses while her husband ripped off investors using his Fort Lauderdale law firm as cover.

In total, they're seeking about $1.1 million in "fraudulent transfers" between the husband and wife, who were married in January 2008. Kim Rothstein, who isn't facing any criminal charges, unjustly enriched herself with her husband's tainted money, according to the civil complaint.

The lawyers itemized a litany of questionable expenses:

• $880,609.77 on an American Express card paid for by her husband's Fort Lauderdale law firm. Among the charges: plastic surgery treatments, hotel and spa charges, groceries, handbags and vacations.

• $104,223.99 on campaign contributions to GOP presidential nominee John McCain and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which were reimbursed by the firm.

• $153,198.71 for "professional fees" paid to her by the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.

One of her attorneys, Scott Saidel, said he had not seen the complaint. "I'm not aware of any fraudulent behavior on behalf of my client," he said.

Scott Rothstein, 47, pleaded guilty in January to five federal charges of conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud for bilking investors by selling them fabricated legal settlements totaling $1.2 billion over the past four years.

The disbarred lawyer faces up to 100 years in prison at his sentencing in May, while others, including chief operating officer Debra Villegas, are expected to be charged in the conspiracy.

The complaint filed by lawyers Paul Singerman and Charles Lichtman marks the first time they have gone after one of Rothstein's relatives.

"She should not retain the benefit of dirty money," Lichtman said.

Kim Rothstein downplayed her shopping sprees. When asked about buying $21,180 in shoes — including nearly $5,000 on Oct. 23, 2009 online — she explained: "I have very small feet, I have to special order."

Lawyers go after Ponzi scammer Scott Rothstein's wife's expenditures 03/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 11:26pm]
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