One Ponzi Schemer in St. Lucie, the Other Vacationing in Key West | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

One Ponzi Schemer in St. Lucie, the Other Vacationing in Key West

OK, here's what I've been able to gather from good sources on the Scott Rothstein transfer from the Federal Detention Center in Miami to the local jail in St. Lucie County.

1. Rothstein was indeed admitted to an area hospital at some point. Apparently he believed he was having a heart attack, but it turned out to be a Redd Foxx special ("It's the big one, Kimmie! I'm coming!").

2. He was taken back to the Federal Detention Center in Miami after he went to the hospital. Despite the suggestions made in the news by his attorney, Marc Nurik, Rothstein's health was not the reason for his move last week to the St. Lucie County Jail.

3. Rothstein had been complaining about conditions at the FDC and may have had concerns about his safety.

4. He is not cooperating with state investigators at this time, though of course his federal cooperation continues. Leading theory at the moment: He was moved out for his own

protection contingent upon the impending arrival of former associates who will soon be housed in the Miami prison due to Rothstein's cooperation with the feds. Again, it is only a theory.

Rothstein clearly wanted out of the FDC and because his cooperation with the feds and his potential role as lead witness in numerous big cases, he may be getting a little deferential (special) treatment. In short, the feds have an incentive to keep him happy and well.

While Rothstein is the St. Lucie County Jail, the other giant Ponzi schemer of Broward County, Joel Steinger, is living it up at a posh waterfront Waldorf Astoria resort in Key West. Steinger, who faces federal fraud and money-laundering charges related a billion-dollar Ponzi, is scheduled to check out tomorrow after a four-day stay, according to federal court documents.

That's right, U.S. District Judge Alan Gold approved a request made by Rothstein's Steinger's attorney, Ed Shohat, to allow Steinger -- who ripped off hundreds of millions of dollars with his Mutual Benefits scheme -- to vacation at the Reach Resort. A check online shows that the cheapest room available for a similar stay is $389 a night, with the most expensive running $549. Add to that a mandatory $25-a-night charge for wi-fi, in-room espresso, a morning paper, and other amenities.

Must be nice. Then again, even when he's not on vacation, he's staying at his waterfront mansion in Fort Lauderdale. All of this, understand, is financed with money stolen from investors, many of whom are elderly and lost large chunks of their life savings. Steinger's trial is scheduled for 2011. 

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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