National

Dec 1, 2009 11:38 AM by Associated Press

Billion dollar fraud scheme in Florida

A once high-flying South Florida attorney is now facing federal criminal charges that he operated an investment fraud scheme using faked legal settlements.

Prosecutors are expected to file criminal racketeering charges Tuesday against lawyer Scott Rothstein, according to two law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Rothstein's attorney declined comment.

Rothstein was expected to appear Tuesday in federal court.

The FBI has estimated Rothstein's fraud at $1 billion. His Fort Lauderdale law firm is now defunct and prosecutors are seizing assets ranging from multimillion-dollar homes to luxury cars to yachts. Investors have filed lawsuits against Rothstein and others.

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