Miles Away…Worlds Apart

I just finished reading Miles Away…Worlds Apart by Alan Sakowitz. I guess I can say that this is a book I won on Goodreads, even though technically I wasn’t selected as a winner in the drawing. But because I had entered, the author contacted me to see if I’d still be interested in receiving a free copy. This was definitely unexpected. It’s not unusual to be contacted with information about ordering a copy of an author’s book or provided with a discount code, but offering to give away a copy for free? And I’m sure Mr. Sakowitz didn’t send this offer to just me, either. So, I was a bit surprised, but I took him up on his offer. After reading the book, and gaining insight as to the type of person the author is, I’m not surprised at all.

This book tells the story of Scott Rothstein, an attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who was involved in very large-scale fraudulent investor scheme (Ponzi scheme). Basically, he would find investors and pay them with money from future investors and so on. Eventually, the money would run out. It wasn’t this simple though. So many people were involved in this, from those who were tracking down investors to the banks that turned a blind eye to suspicious activity.

Alan Sakowitz, also an attorney, was contacted to be a potential investor. After learning a bit more about this investment, (or lack of learning, as Rothstein refused to disclose information, hiding behind the excuse of confidentiality), Mr. Sakowitz concluded that it must be a scam. All clues pointed towards a Ponzi scheme, money laundering, or a combination. He couldn’t just do nothing and allow others to be hurt or affected by this scam. The problem was that Rothstein had “low friends in high places,” and seemed to be well-connected. Mr. Sakowitz was very cautious about who he needed to go to because it would potentially put his life, and the lives of his wife and children, at risk. He decided to go to the FBI.  To sum up, Rothstein was busted and is in jail.

I usually don’t read a lot of non-fiction, preferring instead to read for mostly entertainment. However, I really enjoyed this book. My favorite parts were the stories the author incorporated about his own home community in Miami Beach. His neighbors and community took care of each other and genuinely showed concern and love for each other. This was such a contrast between Rothstein’s world, which was only “miles away, but worlds apart.” There were definitely lessons to be learned from this book, but I’ll allow the inscription from Mr. Sakowitz to sum up.