A disbarred Florida lawyer accused by the FBI of running a $1 billion investment scam is expected to be arrested Tuesday on racketeering conspiracy charges, The Miami Herald reported.
Scott Rothstein, who fled to Morocco in late October but returned to Florida in early November, is expected to appear before a federal magistrate in Fort Lauderdale to face the charges, the newspaper said in its online edition.
It cited unidentified sources familiar with the case.
Rothstein has not directly addressed the accusations, though he has said previously that he would do all in his power to make sure that every single penny is recovered for those who invested with him. He has not said how that would happen.
Prosecutors are using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to charge Rothstein and possibly others, the newspaper said. The conspiracy law is often used to prosecute members of organized crime, drug lords and others accused of running criminal enterprises.
Rothstein, who was disbarred last week by the Florida Supreme Court, is accused of mail, wire and bank fraud, along with money laundering, the Herald said. He faces at least 20 years in prison and forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits if convicted.
The FBI said in November that Rothstein, 47, was suspected of running an elaborate Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $1 billion.
Court documents said he had been selling nonexistent legal settlements to unsuspecting investors since at least 2005, using new investor money to pay previous investors in the classic Ponzi scheme model.
FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided his Fort Lauderdale law office and seized his waterfront home, yacht and other assets in Florida and elsewhere.
The Herald said federal prosecutors would ask a grand jury to consider criminal charges against Rothstein's alleged co-conspirators, possibly including former employees of his now-defunct firm.
Rothstein, a frequent contributor to political campaigns who was often photographed with politicians, had a lavish lifestyle with opulent homes and a fleet of foreign sports cars. He used his connections and charm to lure wealthy friends and patrons to invest with him.
(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Paul Simao)