UPDATED: Scott Rothstein Ends Ponzi Scheme Saga With 50-Year Sentence

Scott Rothstein will spend 50 years in prison, a federal judge decided this morning.

The sentence ends a seven-month saga since Rothstein's empire crumbled. Once one of South Florida's most politically connected lawyers, he swindled more than a billion dollars in perhaps the biggest fraud case in Florida history.

Below is a timeline of the stories published on The Daily Pulp, Bob Norman's blog, chronicling the seven months since Rothstein's collapse.

1978: Scott Rothstein's family moves to Florida in 1978, when Rothstein is 16.

1988: Rothstein starts practicing law.

2002: Kim Wendell, professional bartender, meets budding empire-builder Rothstein at a barbecue at a mutual friend's house. She begins dating him three years later and gets engaged in June 2005.

January 26, 2008: Kimberly Wendell and Scott Rothstein get married. Rothstein rents out the Versace mansion, and attendees include Gov. Charlie Crist. Rumors abound that the wedding costs into the mid-six figures.

March 5, 2008: Rothstein associate Melissa Britt Lewis is killed in a vicious and mysterious attack.
September 11, 2008: Rothstein's team of bodyguards catch the attention of police when a dispute involving firearms breaks out at Riley McDermott's.

October 13, 2008: Rothstein hires disgraced former Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne, who is working in its political consulting group.

October 16, 2008: A New Times cover story by columnist Bob Norman is the first major article on Rothstein.

April 5, 2009: Rothstein allegedly hires Mafia associates on the pretext of needing their help shredding documents that could damage the investigation into his Ponzi scheme.

April 27, 2009: Rothstein sends out a staff-wide email that warns that his "administrative corridor" is off-limits except to a chosen few. This order that would be known throughout the firm as the "lockdown."
August 25, 2009: Rothstein calls Norman and says he's the "Jewish Avenger" and would work to destroy the New Times columnist.

October 26, 2009: Rothstein meets Barack Obama at a Democratic fundraiser at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

October 27, 2009: Rothstein's coffers are empty, and the FBI is closing in. Rothstein wires $16 million and hops on a private jet to Morocco. BSO Lt. David Benjamin personally escorts Rothstein to his jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when Rothstein flees the country to Morocco.

November 3, 2009; Rothstein returns to the United States and surrenders to FBI agents.
November 3-4, 2009: Rothstein spends 18 hours in talks with federal prosecutors.  

November 9, 2009: Rothstein tells Norman he's going to "do the right thing" and promises that "everything's going to get fixed properly."

December 17, 2009: Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom calls reports of a friendship between Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley and Rothstein "despicable" and vows to "get to the bottom of this." 

January 27, 2010: Rothstein pleads guilty to all five counts in the $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme.

February 2, 2010: An internal-affairs investigation finds that Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley did not act inappropriately.

March 15, 2010: After returning from Morocco, Rothstein helped federal prosecutors conduct an undercover sting operation to nab two alleged Mafia members. For his work, he'll likely receive a reduced sentence and spend the rest of his life in the witness protection program.

April 28, 2010: Rothstein confidant Debra Villegas is charged with money laundering.

May 7, 2010: Fort Lauderdale attorney Bill Scherer, who is suing numerous alleged Rothstein co-conspirators in civil court, says that after examining bankruptcy documents, his firm has determined that Rothstein stole $168 million out of what was a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme. 

June 3, 2010: The fruits of Rothstein's outlandish Ponzi scheme are auctioned off at the Broward Convention Center.

June 7, 2010: Prosecutors ask a judge to sentence Rothstein to 40 years in prison. Rothstein asks for a 30-year sentence and pleads with the judge for leniency.

June 9, 2010: Rothstein is scheduled to be sentenced at a 9:30 a.m. hearing.

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New Times Staff