I obtained an email from Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein in which he begs for forgiveness from his closest friends and family members.
"I have lied, I have hurt you, I have hurt your feelings," Rothstein wrote. "I have not been there when you needed me, I have put less important things before those most important ... i made promises to each of you and broke them .... I put money before things so much more important....i have wasted so much of the precious time that G-d has given me....i am ashamed.....i have committed sins knowingly and unknowingly....and for all these sins I beg your forgiveness."
No, Rothstein didn't type this out in his cell at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where he awaits sentencing on racketeering, fraud, and money-laundering charges. He sent it on September 28, less than a month before his scheme imploded and he fled to Morocco. It was for Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement. And at times, it sounds both like a veiled confession and a cry for help.
"I get so caught up in the things that do not matter, I forget the things that are truly important and I do not want to go on like this," he wrote. "I do not want my life to continue on this path."
The complete text, in the same blue cursive font Rothstein used in the original email, follows. It jumps.
From: Scott Rothstein [mailto:
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 5:47 PM
To: Scott Rothstein
Cc: Scott Rothstein
Subject: My ]
Is it really possible that another year has passed??? Each year as I sit to write this message to you, I truly can not believe that it has been a year since I last wrote to all of you. A day can seem like an eternity....and then in the blink of an eye another year flashes by.....and as I look back and reflect on the past year, I am sadly
disappointed in myself. I made a commitment to all of you to do better....to be a better person.....to make sure I was there when you needed me....to spend more time with you...to keep my word......yet as I ponder the year that it has been, I can only surmise that I have failed in so many ways.
While I love all of you with all my heart and all my soul, I have not done as well as I had hoped I would in showing it. Though each year I make a promise to each of you....and a promise to myself and a promise to G-d to improve in so many ways.....i find that I fail more than I succeed....that I falter more than I grow....and that makes me sad. I so want to be a better person. Yet I get so caught up in the things that do not matter, I forget the things that are truly important.....and I do not want to go on like this....i do not want my life to continue on this path....so it is in this spirit that I write to you again.
From sundown last night through an hour after sundown tonight, Jews around the world observe the holiest day of the year...Yom Kippur....the .
During this solemn time, in addition to fasting for 25 hours and observing other commandments meant to bring about a true sense of repentance, we spend most of the time in temple, praying for forgiveness and asking G-d to inscribe us and seal us in the book of life for another year.
However, on Yom Kippur, our repentance through fasting and observance of the holy commandments....and through our begging for forgiveness through our prayers...only allow us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins against G-d. And, G-d willing, G-d gives us the strength to seek forgiveness for sins against our family and friends and others against whom we have sinned. In Judaism, the only way to be forgiven for sins against our family and friends and others is to ask them directly for forgiveness and to be forgiven.
So, once again, as another year has sped by, I come to you in this spirit....with true and sincere repentance in my heart and soul....and I ask all of you to forgive me for the sins that I have committed against you.
I have lied, I have hurt you, I have hurt your feelings, I have not been there when you needed me, I have put less important things before those most important....i have done little to improve myself and I have been selfish with my time.....i made promises to each of you and broke them....i put money before things so much more important.....i have wasted so much of a year....i have wasted so much of the precious time that G-d has given me....i am ashamed.....i have committed sins knowingly and unknowingly....and for all these sins I beg your forgiveness.
Last year I begged your forgiveness for many of the same sins....and I am so very disgusted with myself that I sit here today having made little if any improvement since last year. I have gotten so caught up in my own little world that I have forgotten about you....how important you are to my life....how much you mean to me.....the best of intentions.....they all mean nothing when you do not even attempt to change. I am sorry that I have been such a disappointment to so many of you. As I reflect back on the year I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix so many of the things I did wrong or handled poorly....but I can not....i can only move forward and pray that with G-d's help...and with your help....that I can be a better husband, father, son, grandson, cousin, uncle, and friend. i fear that I have failed all of you in so many ways that I do not know where to begin....so it is with all of this weighing heavy on my heart and my soul....and in the solemn spirit of Yom Kippur...that I beg your forgiveness for all my sins against you....for my failures...for my shortcomings....for my selfishness....i beg you to forgive me.
I wish all of you a lifetime filled with health happiness love and peace....
I love you all....
I pray to G-d that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
i need you all now more than ever.....