The Real Deal Miami

Rothstein COO charged with money laundering

April 27, 2010 03:59PM

Scott Rothstein’s COO and second-in-command, Debra Villegas, has been charged with money laundering, making her the first alleged co-conspirator in the Fort Lauderdale attorney’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Villegas, a former paralegal with no college degree, allegedly took part in Rothstein’s scheme by forging the names of plaintiffs and defendants in settlement agreements. In return, Rothstein paid her $120,000 a year and bought her a 2,600-square-foot home in Weston for $475,000. He used a corporation called WAWW4 — an acronym for What a Wonderful World — to deed the property to Villegas last July for $100, court documents show. [Miami Herald]