FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein has been sentenced to 50 years in prison by a Florida judge for operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn imposed the sentence Wednesday on Rothstein, who turns 48 on Thursday. Rothstein could have been sentenced to the maximum 100 years for five felony convictions.

Rothstein wanted a lower 30-year sentence because of his extensive cooperation with investigators.

Before it collapsed last fall, Rothstein's scheme was built on supposedly lucrative investments in faked confidential legal settlements. The scam enabled Rothstein to buy at least two dozen homes and numerous exotic cars and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians.