When the FBI and IRS raided lawyer Scott Rothstein's Fort Lauderdale firm earlier this month, they carted away documents related to civil lawsuits involving billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler represented a few plaintiffs that alleged sexual abuse by Epstein. Rothstein tried to use the cases to lure investors.
"Mr Rothstein told investors he had uncovered many more victims and were negotiating to settle those without having to file suits,'' said attorney William Scherer who represents investors who lost around $100 million.
The cases were real -- but the settlements were a fiction. None of the cases had settled, but the hig-profile nature of the Epstein lawsuits -- and the fact that he was known to be a billionaire -- might have been enough to convince some investors to pony up.
William Berger, a former Palm Beach judge who was one of the lawyers at Rothstein's firm handling Epstein cases, said the first time he heard about Rothstein selling settlements was when he read about it in the paper.
"Not one of my clients knew that, or consented to it or was even approached about it,'' he said.
When the feds seized files from Rothstein's firm, they "sequestered about thirteen boxes of documents related to this case,'' according to a document filed in federal court by the firm's bankruptcy attorneys at Berger Singerman.