On November 9, 2009, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida filed a civil complaint against Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein, alleging that he was responsible for a massive Ponzi scheme in which he is alleged to have sold shares in fictitious structured settlements. According to John Gillies, special agent in charge of the Miami office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the scheme could be South Florida's largest fraud ever, involving many hundreds of investors and more than $1 billion.
In recent years, Mr. Rothstein became one of the state's most prominent political fundraisers. Although it may be difficult to determine the precise amount of political contributions made by Mr. Rothstein and interests associated with Mr. Rothstein, estimates range as high as $1.4 million in the last three years, including $571,000 in contributions to the Republican Party of Florida and $200,000 to the Florida Democratic Party. Ever since news of Mr. Rothstein's legal troubles became known earlier this month, both parties and various candidates have been attempting to identify and return his contributions.