Robert "Big Bob" Scandiffio, 1960-2010 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Robert "Big Bob" Scandiffio, 1960-2010

Of all the people hurt by Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, his bodyguard Robert "Big Bob" Scandiffio may have been hit the hardest.

Scandiffio lost his vehicle, his house, his job. He traveled to Morocco at Rothstein's request where he said the former lawyer tried to convince him to take the fall for him. He lived in fear that somehow the Rothstein investigation would fall on him in some way or that the bankruptcy court would take action against him. He couldn't find new work. He had fought cancer and had other serious physical problems, all the while trying to help raise his young daughter.

It was a terrible fall for Scandiffio, who at 6-foot-2 and a chiseled 260 pounds had worked as a bodyguard to the stars prior to his ill-fated stint with Rothstein, protecting celebrities like music mogul Tommy Mottola and Celine Dion.

Today Scandiffio died in an apparent suicide, a possibility he mentioned on numerous occasions. He shot himself at his apartment in Plantation at about 11:30 a.m., sources said, and didn't leave any explanation behind. He was 50 years-old.  

Rothstein bankruptcy attorney Chuck Lichtman, who spent several hours with Scandiffio, called when he learned the news.

"I don't think he wanted to do anything but be a good bodyguard and be loyal to someone," said Lichtman. "I think he got suckered into getting onto that plane to Morocco and that it was part of Scott's whole program to extricate himself from the situation. I spent a lot of time with Scandiffio and I will concede that parts of his story didn't add up perfectly, but I looked at enough stuff and did not believe that Scandiffio was really a bad guy. It's tragic and now there are two people who have killed themselves as a result of this Ponzi scheme.

"[Scandiffio] sat with me one day and we were going through some stuff, and he cried. And it was not an act. I had one lawyer who cried in front of me [in the Rothstein case] and when that lawyer cried I wanted to kick his butt because I know it was a show. Scandiffio was really hurt. The more I looked and the more I dug I don't believe Scandiffio benefitted from the scheme. He didn't have the lifestyle. He was just hurt very badly."