What a thief.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Bill Scherer, who is suing numerous alleged Scott Rothstein co-conspirators in civil court, said today that after examining bankruptcy documents, his firm has determined that Rothstein stole a grand total of $168 million out of what was a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme. Also today we learn that Rothstein friend Ted Morse allegedly made millions off the Ponzi scheme. Two big losers: Ted's dad, legendary car dealer Ed Morse, who was swindled for big money, and longtime Rothstein law partner Howard Kusnick, who expects to be indicted by the feds.
In all, Scherer said that $1.4 billion ran through the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler firm's Ponzi trust accounts and a little over $1.2 billion went back out to investors, the difference of which is $168 million that Rothstein personally pocketed to buy property, businesses, jewelry, a yacht, and a fleet of luxury automobiles including a pair of $1 million-plus Bugattis. He also sank millions of the stolen money into political campaigns and charities.
Scherer said that most of that $1.4 billion was recycled money in the scheme and that it appears about $500 million total in fresh investors' money was invested in the Ponzi, though Scherer cautioned that he could be $100 million off on that figure. Take away the $168 million that Rothstein took for his own use and there is roughly $350 million out there in
money that was paid back to investors -- money his clients want clawed back.
Scherer announced those figures at a status hearing today before Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld. And that wasn't the only news that emerged from the day in court.
Streitfeld dismissed the civil suit filed by prominent car dealer Ed Morse against several Rothstein partners for malpractice. Ed Morse, you'll recall, was swindled out of about $25 million by Rothstein in another civil suit during which the Ponzi schemer forged judges' signatures on fake documents.
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The $25 million figure is the total of what Scherer, who also serves on the Rothstein bankruptcy committee, says the elder Morse ultimately lost in his dealings with Rothstein. Morse's son, Ted, however, wound up as a net winner, said Scherer.
Ted Morse, who was a very close Rothstein friend, actually made $17 million off Rothstein during the life of the scheme, according to the lawyer.
Another huge piece of news is that during the Morse hearing before Streitfeld, an attorney representing Howard Kusnick told the judge that her client was under investigation by the federal government and "expected to be indicted," according to Scherer.
For more on Kusnick, read here.