Depositions: “Guys, No Dealing Drugs at the Office – I’m Trying to Run a Ponzi Scheme Here”

Natch, this one comes from Lowering the Bar, but let me emphasize that it involves deposition testimony (and this and related transcripts are all available through the Lowering the Bar links), so there’s a lesson here about, well, something to do with testifying at depositions, although I trust no devoted Sidebar for Plaintiffs reader is conducting a Ponzi scheme at his own office. His own law office.

Lots of entertainment value in the transcripts of Scott Rothstein’s deposition, which was taken in December. As you may recall, Rothstein was one of our nation’s top Ponzi schemers until the scam came to light in 2009, whereupon he briefly fled to Morocco before deciding to return and plead guilty.

And more of Kevin Underhill’s comments:

Rothstein takes offense at being compared to über-Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff, even though Madoff Ponzi-schemed 20 to 50 times as much as Rothstein’s lame $1.2 billion. Madoff is a scumbag, according to Rothstein, because he hasn’t ratted out his partners. “Madoff should have taken me, and I’m proud to say this, as an example as to what you do when you want to do the right thing…. Because if you think he did that by himself, then you don’t know anything about how these crimes work.” I’m fine with the guy turning on his co-conspirators, I’m just not sure it raises his moral standing.

Then Underhill inserts some actual testimony:

The better one, though, is the excerpt in which Rothstein says many of his law partners smoked pot in the office, some on a daily basis:

Q: [T]hat wasn’t incorporated in the rock-star lifestyle, using drugs with any of your investors or co-conspirators?

Rothstein: No, actually, never. Actually, I had a lot of opportunities to because there was a lot of marijuana smoking going on in my office, but it wasn’t something — I prefer to drink vodka.

Q: Actually in the office it was going on?

Rothstein: In the office, in the garage, outside the office, I had some partners that couldn’t come to work without smoking pot.

This is a shocking revelation, of course, because most big-firm partners prefer meth. But even worse, Rothstein says that some were actually dealing drugs from the office. This is where Rothstein claims he tried to draw the line:

Rothstein: I actually tried to put a stop to that.

Q: That was one crime you wouldn’t tolerate?

Rothstein: No, no, it’s not that. I didn’t want to draw attention. You don’t want to have marijuana dealing from the middle of your law office because I was running a giant Ponzi scheme out of there.



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