Did Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein use his influence with law enforcement to have the ex-wife of his former law associate arrested on a bogus felony charge?
The answer is unclear, but the FBI is investigating.
The twisting and turning story starts with Rothstein's friendship with Plantation lawyer Douglas Bates. Since his billion-dollar scheme imploded, the fraudster has testified that Bates, whom he met when both were students at Nova Law School, helped him pull off the monstrous scam by giving false information to investors about bogus legal settlements Rothstein was selling.
While Rothstein and Bates were allegedly in cahoots back in 2009, Bates was locked in a bitter dispute with is ex-wife, Marcy, who had married one of his former law partners, Larry Flaster.
"All Marcy wanted him to do was to leave us alone," Flaster told me.
Marcy and Bates had two children together, including a 16-year-old son with a developmental disability who required prescription medication. Marcy says that on the morning of June 29, 2009, Bates gave her the boy's pill bottle with the label pulled off, which technically made possession of the bottle a felony crime.
Later that same morning, Marcy was pulled over in the City of Sunrise by a Broward Sheriff's vice detective named Jeff Poole. The detective, who works major drug cases and was in an unmarked vehicle, claimed to have stopped her because her tag was expired (and it was). He wrote in his report that while he was questioning her, he noticed the unmarked prescription bottle in her purse. He asked to search the vehicle; Marcy agreed.
She explained that the unmarked prescription bottle was legitimate medicine for her son and told the detective it had been given to her that morning by her ex-husband, Bates. Poole called Bates at the scene after getting his number from Marcy. Bates denied that he'd given her the pill bottle and Poole arrested Marcy on felony drug charges.
Marcy was taken to the Weston substation, where she was strip-searched. After that she says she was taken to another building and put in an empty room. She says that while sitting in the room she was told to face the wall and take off her clothes. She never saw the faces of the two deputies who told her to do this.
"They told her to take her clothes off, which she did," said Flaster. "She had her hands on the wall, completely naked ... she said, 'You know what you’re doing is wrong.' They said, 'We have the guns we have the power.' ... She was sure she was going to be raped at that point in time."
But they left without touching her. Then she was taken to jail and booked inside. She wasn't released until after 3 a.m. Flaster picked her up.
"She looked terrible. She was crying. She was hysterical," he said.
To see Marcy's mugshot taken during the booking, watch the video above. The charges were dropped after it was confirmed that the medication was indeed properly prescribed for her son. Poole charged her with possessing other prescription pills as well, but it was all prescribed.
Flaster says they tried to put the experience behind them (and Marcy didn't tell him about the incident with the two deputies until months later). Then one day about a year later, FBI agents knocked on Flaster's door.
"Out of the blue," Flaster said. "They brought up Doug Bates' name. They thought [he] was involved in the incident."
They also brought up the name Scott Rothstein, whose Ponzi scheme imploded in late 2009. Flaster had known Rothstein from his friendship with his former partner Bates and says he never got along with him or liked him.
"The FBI told me and Marcy that Scott Rothstein was involved," Flaster said. "...They said that Poole was Rothstein’s enforcer."
Poole didn't return repeated calls for comment. Bates ran away when I tried to question him about Rothstein and the arrest outside his law office. His criminal attorney, Leonard Sands, said that he had learned that Rothstein is making the allegation from prison that he and Bates framed Marcy. Sands said it wasn't true.
"Doug didn't have her arrested and Rothstein has no credibility," said Sands.
The federal investigation continues.