With his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme crumbling last fall, a desperate Scott Rothstein agreed to cooperate with the Feds in a sting operation that helped bring down an alleged Sicilian mafioso, according to a remarkable new story in the Miami Herald.
Roberto Settineri was arrested in Florida last week on money laundering charges. On the same day, he was charged in Italy with “extortion, drug trafficking, attempted homicide, and other crimes arising from their alleged affiliation with Santa Maria di Gesù, a Sicilian mafia family,” according to the FBI.
According to the Herald, Rothstein, a prominent Fort Lauderdale attorney, was scrambling to find something to give authorities when news of his Ponzi scheme broke late last year. He mentioned he knew Settineri, who was already the subject of an investigation.
The Feds’ interest’ piqued, Rothstein agreed to an operation in which he wore a wire and “talked Settineri into tearing up two boxes of documents and laundering $79,000 from Rothstein’s massive investment racket,” according to the Herald.
The paper speculates that Rothstein’s role in the sting may land him in the Witness Protection Program — and, potentially, a measure of leniency at his sentencing in May.
The full story is here.
And the Broward-Palm Beach New Times has more context on Rothstein’s role in the sting here.