The sentence was more than the 40 years federal prosecutors had recommended for Rothstein, a disbarred lawyer who pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud conspiracy charges in January.
He had faced up to 100 years in prison but his lawyer had asked U.S. District Judge James Cohn to give him no more than 30 years.
Rothstein, who turns 48 on Thursday, fled to Morocco as his fraud scheme collapsed in late October, apparently lured by the fact that the country has no extradition treaty with the United States. He voluntarily came back to Florida in early November and has been jailed since he surrendered to the FBI in December.
Upon his return, Rothstein cooperated with investigators unraveling his investment scheme, which prosecutors cited in asking that he be given a sentence of no more than 40 years. But Cohn tore into Rothstein for his "greed and arrogance" before handing down the tougher sentence, stressing that Rothstein had committed his fraud while serving as a licensed attorney.
Part of that fraud involved forging bogus court documents, making it especially egregious to a federal judge, Cohn said. "There can be no conduct more reviled," he said.