Courts & Crime

Commentary: Ponzi scheme allowed spouse to live large

So many shoes. So little shame.

Of course, Kim's $21,180.01 investment in footwear hardly compares to the millions frittered away on the big-ticket items hauled away by the feds last November -- luxury cars, yachts, mansions.

A cache of size-five women's shoes has little fungible value to hapless investors in Scott Rothstein's Ponzi scheme.

But the mindless shopping sprees, even as Scott's illicit contrivance was imploding, offer a stunning measure of just how little remorse the Rothsteins felt.

Remember Halloween weekend? Fort Lauderdale was abuzz with rumors -- true as it turned out -- that Scott had absconded to Morocco, a preferred destination for wealthy fugitives looking for a refuge with no U.S. extradition treaty, where he could hide from ripped-off investors, business partners and law clients with looted trust funds.

It should have been apparent all along, but by Halloween weekend it was plenty obvious.

The billionaire lifestyle enjoyed by Scott and Kim Rothstein was the stuff of plunder. The mansions, restaurants, cars, yachts, jewelry, the $41,924.89 in purchases from the Zola Keller dress shop on Las Olas Boulevard -- all purchased from the proceeds of a brazen theft.

he week her husband absconded to Morocco, according to Kim's Feb. 18 deposition taken by bankruptcy attorneys sorting through the looted assets, our Lil' Imelda ordered $4,785 worth of shoes from XTC in Melrose, Calif.

On Halloween weekend, she went shoe shopping at Nordstrom. (The Sun Sentinel identified the purchases as Gucci and Jimmy Choo platforms.)

The attorneys cited credit card records indicating a $1,600 purchase at Zola Keller's on Oct. 28 and another $3,445 there on Nov. 2, the day before hubby slouched back from Africa (on a private jet, not a penitent riding coach).

The deposition offers an epic study into a season of conspicuous consumption, sprinkled with Gucci and Coach and Louis Vuitton.

On Wednesday, bankruptcy lawyer Paul Singerman filed a lawsuit against Kim Rothstein, claiming, ``During the years 2006 through 2009, Mrs. Rothstein charged $880,609.77 . . . for purely personal expenses including, but not limited to: jewelry, clothing, shoes, handbags, leather goods, plastic surgery treatments, eyewear, electronics, local hotel room and spa charges, household furnishings, home gym equipment, vacations and personal travel, athletic club charges, groceries, charitable contributions, personal meals, general household and other items.''

``I've been involved in bankruptcy law for 27 years,'' Singerman told me Wednesday. ``But the offensiveness of so many aspects of this case, the manner in which people who by any standards should know better, has been unprecedented.''

Kim's husband came back from Morocco and pleaded guilty to scamming investors of $1.2 billion. But Kim, according to her deposition, has been allowed to stay in the Isla Bahia mansion and keep her Cadillac Escalade and adjust to a downsized life that would be the envy of most non-millionaires.

Among other signs that Kim hasn't quite recoiled in the utter shame of it all: She told the bankruptcy lawyers she spent $4,000 to retain a publicist.

Her publicist should have told her: Show some remorse. For starters, fire the damn publicist.

Read the full story at the Miami Herald.

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