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Scott Rothstein, the Florida lawyer whose firm asked U.S. prosecutors to investigate the alleged disappearance of $500 million in investor funds, was accused in a government filing of conducting a “Ponzi” scheme.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman in Miami is seeking the civil forfeiture of eight properties linked to the lawyer.

“There is probable cause to believe that the above- described defendant properties were acquired in connection with a ‘Ponzi’ scheme, conducted by attorney Scott Rothstein” and others, according to Sloman’s filing yesterday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler PA, asked U.S. prosecutors to investigate the possible misappropriation of funds, the firm’s attorney, Kendall Coffey, said in a Nov. 3 interview.

Rothstein, the Fort Lauderdale-based firm’s co-founder, is believed to have taken the funds from a side business that dealt in legal-case settlements, Coffey said then.

Investors were allegedly being enticed to invest in pay-out plans for settlements that didn’t actually exist, prosecutors said. The payments were scheduled over as many as 12 months.

“The entire investment scheme was a fraud,” Sloman’s office said in the court document. Some of the investor proceeds were used to acquire the properties now sought by the U.S., all of which are located in Florida.


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