The Real Deal Miami

Rothstein COO pleads not guilty to money laundering; will forfeit Weston home

April 29, 2010 02:13PM

Debra Villegas, the COO of fraudster Scott Rothstein’s Fort Lauderdale law firm who was charged with money laundering in connection with the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme earlier this week, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is cooperating with federal authorities. Villegas was allegedly given a $475,000 Weston home by Rothstein, among other gifts, in exchange for aiding him in his scam. Prosecutors are now seeking to forfeit the 2,600-square-foot home, on which Villegas took out a $100,000 mortgage just days before the Ponzi scheme unraveled, according to property records. Villegas has since moved to Clewiston and is willing to give up the Weston property, her attorney said. [Sun Sentinel]