Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein capitalized on an aura of power, money and generosity to feed both his craving for the limelight and his $1 billion-plus Ponzi scheme.
Scott Israel, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Broward County sheriff last year, won't ever forget his first encounter with lawyer Scott Rothstein, the big-time GOP fundraiser.
``We were at lunch an hour and a half, but he was only at the table 10 minutes,'' said Israel, recalling how Rothstein hopped from table to table at a Galleria Mall restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. ``He always mentioned the governor every third sentence. He said, `Give me a call Monday. I'm going to support you and give you money.'
``When he called me he would say, `Scotty, my boy!' He wanted to sound like I was a friend of his.''
Israel, though not a victim of the lawyer's now-notorious investment scheme, got the full Rothstein treatment -- the carefully cultivated aura of clout, wealth and generosity displayed at a frenetic pace.
Those characteristics enabled Rothstein to win over wealthy investors who gave him $1.2 billion for his purported legal-settlement deals. Their trust and money helped Rothstein, who was raised in a working-class Bronx family, attain a heightened status that fed both his craving for the limelight and his Ponzi scheme, say federal authorities and other observers.Read this story on miamiherald.com