The federal government has first claim to all of disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein’s seized property if he is convicted of running a Ponzi scheme — an operation prosecutors now estimate attracted $1.6 billion from investors.

U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn, who is presiding over Rothstein’s criminal case, signed an order Monday at the government’s request to preserve all of Rothstein’s assets for forfeiture. The three-page ruling shifts the jurisdiction for marshalling assets from Bankruptcy Court, where Rothstein’s defunct firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler is being unwound, to criminal court.

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