Make us your home page
Instagram

Fla. man gets 6 years in NY Facebook share case

In June, 
Craig L. Berkman pleaded guilty to securities fraud and wire fraud.

In June, Craig L. Berkman pleaded guilty to securities fraud and wire fraud.

NEW YORK — A 72-year-old Odessa investment adviser and onetime Oregon gubernatorial candidate cried as he apologized Monday before being sentenced to six years in prison in a $13 million securities fraud scheme that prosecutors say capitalized on enthusiasm for shares of Facebook and other Internet companies about to go public.

Craig L. Berkman was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who called his crime "surely despicable" and "particularly egregious" because it was a sophisticated financial fraud he created to try to pay off the losses of an earlier first fraud.

Still, the Republican party chairman for Oregon from 1989 to 1993 pledged through tears to dedicate the rest of his life after prison to teaming with former contacts in the business world to make enough money to make whole 120 investors who lost money in the scheme between October 2010 and March of this year.

Berkman had made millions of dollars by creating and selling high-tech companies before the dot-com bust and the 2008 financial collapse sent him on a desperate course to regain wealth.

"I expect to pay 100 percent of the restitution ordered by the court," he said shortly before Scheindlin ordered him to forfeit $13.2 million and pay a fine of at least $8.4 million.

The judge rejected his defense lawyer's request that he be sentenced to two years in prison, saying she was "concerned that without significant punishment this behavior would only be repeated."

The sentencing follows Berkman's June plea to securities fraud and wire fraud. He had admitted falsely claiming to investors that he owned shares of Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and LinkedIn Inc., among other companies. He told investors their money would be used to buy shares of companies before their initial public offerings.

Fla. man gets 6 years in NY Facebook share case 12/16/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 16, 2013 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Allegiant Air strands 200 in Las Vegas, possibly for days

    Airlines

    What happened in Vegas will stay in Vegas — at least until Thursday for about 200 Allegiant Air passengers who were stranded Sunday when their flight to Oklahoma City was canceled.

    About 200 Allegiant Air passengers are stranded in Las Vegas, perhaps for days. Allegiant's headquarters, shown here, is located in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, Nevada.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]


  2. Cott Corp. sells beverage manufacturing business for $1.25 billion

    Business

    TAMPA — Cott Corp., a beverage manufacturer with headquarters in Tampa and Toronto, announced Tuesday it is selling its national beverage manufacturing business to Refresco for $1.25 billion.

    Cott Corp CEO Jerry Fowden
[Handout photo]
  3. Duke Energy Florida again ranks last in J.D. Power satisfaction survey

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Another J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, another last place annual ranking for Duke Energy Florida.

    Duke Energy Florida president. Can he improve the utility's customer satisfaction ratings?
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times file photo]
  4. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]
  5. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]