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Scott Rothstein sentenced to 50 years

Scott Rothstein, South Florida Ponzi schemer extraordinaire, received a 50-year prison sentence Wednesday after a hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

U.S. District Judge James Cohn, an Alabama native appointed by President George W. Bush, gave the disbarred lawyer more than what prosecutors requested for his crime as the mastermind of South Florida's biggest financial fraud.

"I am truly and deeply sorry for what I have done," Rothstein said, addressing the court wearing cuffs on his wrists and ankles. "I don't expect your forgiveness.''

He apologized to investors he stole from, to his law firm colleagues, to his firm's clients, to the court system, fellow lawyers, to charities.

Rothstein, convicted of running a $1.2 billion investment scam, had said he deserved no more than 30 years because he pleaded guilty, spilled his guts to the feds and starred in an FBI sting that took down a reputed Italian Mafia figure.

But federal prosecutors, while recognizing his cooperation, weren't willing to be so generous. They wanted the 47-year-old Rothstein, who is expected to enter a federal witness protection program, to serve 40 years behind bars.