Rothstein talks about paying back investors in exclusive interview
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Investors have accused high-profile lawyer Scott Rothstein of ripping them off of millions of dollars, and now he says he wants to pay every single penny back.
"I made a very, very serious mistake," he said in an exclusive interview, Monday.
Federal agents investigating him already raided his office at the law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler. On Monday morning, they went into his home to confiscate several pricey items, including cars and his yacht.
Since the allegations surfaced that he ran a Ponzi scheme, he's been out of the public eye... until tonight. "You do what's necessary to make things right," said Rothstein. "It's a very difficult time for me and my family. I've disappointed them, I've embarrassed them, I've disappointed friends, colleagues and, candidly, I'm alone now. I mean, I have very few friends, and what I get, I guess I deserve."
To those who say they hate him for allegedly making hundreds of millions of dollars to buy expensive boats, cars and mansions, he said, "Everyone in life makes mistakes, everybody. Look, it's a very, very simple process. I made a very, very serious mistake, but at the end of the day, you make a decision, you either run from your mistakes or you face them. You man up. You do the right thing."
Before this story broke, Rothstein left to Morocco but returned. "I've come back here to make sure that everything's made right," he said. "If anyone's lost any money, I'm going to do every single thing in my power to make sure that every single penny is recovered."
Rothstein spoke with his attorney Marc Nuric by his side. "We are right now, trying to figure out how this is going to work out," Nurik said. "It's a very detailed process. There are a lot of issues involved."
Rothstein interjects, "I do want to answer this. I will not stop until every single penny is paid back, end of story. I will not. These people do not deserve to be hurt. No one deserves to be hurt, OK, and the money needs to be paid back."
Rothstein said he is not dealing directly with the government in his plans to return the finds. "Scott is cooperating with me," said Nuric, "in trying to figure out how we're going to arrange for all of this money to be paid back."
Nuric said this deal has nothing to do with Rothstein giving up names of those involved to investigators. "No, no, no," said Nuric. "I don't know where people are coming up with this."
"I know where they're coming up with this," Rothstein said. "It's speculation so that we can fuel the media fire."
Rothstein was the controlling partner in Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler in Fort Lauderdale. Federal investigators allowed for a tour of his office last week following their raid, which revealed surveillance cameras and microphones outside of his office. Some speculated Rothstein was paranoid. "Scott wasn't paranoid," said Nuric. "Scott was colorful. I can't answer why people were giving tours of offices. At the end of the day, this isn't Disney."
"Let's make this fact clear," Rothstein added. "First of all, that office was there for years, not like that. For the bulk of the time we were all together, there was nothing like that. That was only the last seven months of my office."
Rothstein believes that he has been unfairly portrayed in the media, citing one news article that said he was laughing and smoking a cigar when his attorney was questioned about the case. "I found it amusing that in the midst of sitting there talking to you," he said turning to Nuric, "hysterical, that when I was talking about my wife and what I'd done to family and friends that a reporter would call me and to take advantage of what I said and to spin it that way to make me look like evil incarnate when I've come back here. A lot of people run from their mistakes. I'm not running. I'm here to make things right. Otherwise, I would not be here."
Scott Rothstein says he believes in God, and that he's trying to make everything right, noting he has found strength in his wife and his faith. "My wife and God," he said, "and now everyone's going to say, 'Oh, he found God. Sorry, guys, I found God 40-some odd years ago."
Rothstein said he believes in God and is now trying to make things right. "I will not rest for one minute until everything single penny is paid back to any legitimate person that's owed money. I'm not talking about the people that participated, I'm not talking about the people that knew what was going on."
How Rothstein will get the money to pay those who lost their money remains unclear, but, his attorney said, they are working on it.
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