[Editor's Note: This post was supposed to be up Monday, but wasn't, and there have been a couple of other technical issues recently. Sorry about that.]
How's this sound:
Nestled in the Hilton Bentley Beach boutique hotel, this residence features designer finishes, a split floor plan and an oversized wraparound balcony on top of the ocean. Ownership offers a rental program for nightly rentals and is a full service property with valet, concierge, pool service and much more.
That's how the realtors are billing Miami Beach socialite Tatiana Yoel's Miami Beach condo. And you can have it for just $1.375 million. That's the list price, but attorneys handling the Scott Rothstein bankruptcy say that $400,000 of the money that Yoel put into the condo when she bought it back in 2006 belongs to victims of Rothstein's Ponzi scheme.
In a recent videotaped deposition, Rothstein said he wired the $400,000 to a bank account in Switzerland earmarked for Yoel, whom he testified was one of the mistresses of former Silversea Cruises CEO Albert Peter. Yoel has denied in court documents that she was involved in any fraudulent activity with Peter or Rothstein.
Rothstein testified the money was wired fraudulently from Silversea to the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm and that he then wired the money to Switzerland for Peter and Yoel. Rothstein also testified that he and Peter embezzled millions more dollars from the cruise company using fraudulent legal bills and other schemes. From the transcript:
Q: On October 24, 2006 there was a transaction whereby Silversea Cruises wire transferred money to RRA, $400,000, and it was allegedly for the benefit of Albert Peter. Then money went out to Tatiana Yoel. Are you familiar with that transaction?
A. I am.
Q. Ms. Yoel has taken the position that this is money -- and Albert Peter has done the same -- that this is money that Silversea owed to Mr. Peter. Do you have any knowledge of whether or not that is true or not true?
A. It's a lie.
Q. How do you know it's a lie?
A. I discussed the issue with Albert Peter.
Q. What did Albert say to you?
A. He told me that he needed to get $400,000 to Tatiana in order to purchase a property together because she was going to leave him if they didn't start cementing their relationship. I told him that we did not have sufficient funds in-house to just simply send her $400,000 given everything that was going on. He said, "I can send it to you from Silversea if you'll then forward it to Tatiana," and I said I would and did.
Q. Are you aware that this was $400,000 that was used to purchase a condominium for Tatiana on South Beach?
Q. Did Tatiana provide any services or benefit of any nature to RRA in connection with this $400,000?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did Albert provide any benefit or services to RRA in connection with this $400,000?
A. Legitimate services? No, sir.
MR. GOLDBERG: I'm glad the term "cementing the relationship" now has come to mean buying real estate with cement for them.
Q. I think that the transaction took an interesting turn in that money went from Silversea to RRA's account. Do you agree with that?
A. I recall that. Yes, sir.
Q. And that was not for money that was owed by Silversea to Mr. Peter. You agreed with that. Correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then I believe that money went from RRA to an account in Ms. Yoel's name in Zurich. Are you familiar with that?
A. I seem to recall that being the case. ....
Q. If Ms. Yoel was intending to buy a condominium with this $400,000 -- and I'll proffer to you that it is not in dispute that the money was used for that purpose -- can you explain why, if you know, she directed the money to go from RRA's account to an account in Switzerland to buy property in South Florida?
A. She directed no such thing. That was directed by Albert.
Q. Do you know why Albert directed that?
A. The only thing that I know is that he told me to send it to this particular account in Switzerland. ...
Q. Did he discuss with you the nature of the account that was in Ms. Yoel's name in Zurich?
A. I don't recall one way or the other, other than telling me to send the money there.