Scott Rothstein, Ponzi schemer and Charlie Crist's other lawyer friend, is still making headlines in South Florida, albeit through the people Rothstein involved in his fraud.
This week the Rothstein saga involves Gayla Sue Levin, wife of George Levin, the biggest source of money that flowed like a spring river into the flamboyant lawyer's Ponzi scheme.
Gayla Sue Levin just switched lawyers, hiring Fort Lauderdale attorney William Scherer to represent her. She had filed a suit recently looking for damages from TD Bank -- the institution already hit up for more than $230 million in Rothstein litigation.
"I feel sorry for her," a woman identifying herself as one of Levin's friends told Sunshine State News.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the friend insisted the Levins were as duped by Rothstein as any of his victims "and people are treating them like they were accomplices in the crime."
Gayla Sue Levin's lawsuit alleges a TD Bank conspiracy to support Rothstein and a cover-up of the facts later on. The South Florida Business Journal writes, "Like several other recent Rothstein lawsuits, (Gayla Sue Levin's) refers to the August sanction ruling by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke that TD Bank had knowledge of Rothsteins fraud."
Gayla Sue Levins new lawsuit, filed in Broward County Circuit Court, states that she had no knowledge of Rothsteins wrongdoing, and that she and her husband's net worth was slashed from about $300 million to a fraction of that.
Husband George's name is not on the lawsuit.
The Levins themselves have been implicated in the Ponzi scheme. George Levin has been described in numerous court documents as the top feeder to Rothsteins $1.4 billion investment fraud, shoveling in up to $775 million.
The Business Journal reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged George Levin with violating civil securities laws, and alleged that he and his business associate Frank Preve 'knew or were reckless in not knowing' that their companies often purchased interest in legal settlements from Rothstein without obtaining any documentation about the settlements.
The Business Journal reported on George Levins business background in South Florida, which includes one of his companies, Classic Motor Carriages, being charged with fraud in 1999.
Rothstein, 50, a disbarred lawyer and the former managing shareholder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, was accused of funding his philanthropy, political contributions, law firm salaries, and an extravagant lifestyle with a massive $1.2 billionPonzi scheme.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist's relationship with Rothstein went beyond donor-candidate. The two were in "regular contact." They exchanged voice mails on a regular basis, visited each other's homes, traveled and vacationed together on occasion and on Crist's 52nd birthday, Rothstein threw the governor a party and gave him a present of $52,000 -- $1,000 for every candle blown out.
On June 9, 2010, Rothstein received a 50-year prison sentence after a hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. In 2011 federal prosecutors filed a motion notifying the court they would be seeking a reduction in his sentence.
"It seems to me the Scott Rothstein trail of disaster will never end for the people caught up in it," Gayla Sue Levin's friend said.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.