|Steven Lippman and Scott Rothstein|
Though convictions of participants in Ponzi schemes generally receive maximum media coverage, often including press releases by the US Attorney's office, when a defendant receives a sentence reduction, that news usually is not picked up by reporters, and thus never appears in print. Of course, if the Ponzi scheme victims saw that a perpetrator of the fraud was being released from prison early, they might get agitated, especially if their monetary loss was significant.
This week, a District Judge in the Scott Rothstein case reduced the sentence of Rothstein law firm attorney Steven Lippman by one third. Lippman has been sentenced to a term of three years, for campaign contribution violations; his duties at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler included illegally "bundling" campaign contributions, as part of Scott Rothstein's efforts to gain influence among elected officials.
The Court reduced his sentence after the US Attorney filed a Motion, under Rule 35(b), indicating that Lippman had rendered Substantial Assistance in the prosecution of others. One wonders what the victims of the Rothstein Ponzi scheme felt, if they saw the small article, which appeared in local media, mentioning the sentence reduction. Though Lippman had a minor role, he was part of an organized billion dollar fraud, which forged court documents, including judge's signatures, in a scheme that, in part, took advantage of the public's trust in lawyers, to accomplish a massive Ponzi scheme.