FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Ponzi princess is now a federal convict.
Kim Rothstein, the wife of convicted fraudster Scott Rothstein, pleaded guilty Friday to a federal conspiracy charge, admitting that she and others sought to conceal and sell more than $1 million in Ponzi jewelry that was meant for victims of her husband's billion-dollar scam.
Kim Rothstein, 38, faces a maximum of five years in prison when she is sentenced April 19 but is likely to get far less under federal guidelines. She pleaded guilty in a hearing to conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruct justice and tamper with a witness.
The witness: her husband the Ponzi schemer. Kim Rothstein asked Scott Rothstein to tell authorities that he sold one of the prized pieces of hidden jewelry, a 12-carat yellow diamond ring, to a man now dead. If Scott Rothstein misled prosecutors it could further damage his credibility as a witness and seriously impact on future criminal cases -- including those aimed at law partners Stuart Rosenfeldt and Russell Adler. It could also hurt the 50-year-old Rothstein's chances of reducing a 50-year prison sentence.
The charges against his wife raise "new questions concerning Scott Rothstein's conduct ... as well as reinforcement to those who believe that the government's case has fizzled," wrote Bruce Zimet, attorney for former Rothstein partner Steven Lippman, in court documents after the case was made public.
When I asked her yesterday at the courthouse if her husband had lied for her, Kim Rothstein was silent. After the plea she and her attorney, David Tucker, declined comment, ducking into a dark-colored SUV and speeding off.
Two others involved in the hidden-jewelry plot — close friend Stacie Weisman, 49, and her attorney Scott Saidel, 45 — have also pleaded guilty and face similar five-year sentences. Two other men — Eddy Marin, 50 and Fort Lauderdale jeweler Patrick Daoud, 54 — accused of playing roles in the scheme are set to go to trial in April.
According to court documents, Kim Rothstein and her confederates hid dozens of pieces — the yellow diamond ring, gold bars, 10 luxury watches and an 18-diamond wedding band among them — and later attempted to sell them.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.