Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Odessa adviser accused of Facebook fraud up for bail hearing

TAMPA — For seven years, Craig L. Berkman has lived in a nearly 12,000 square-foot, five-bedroom, eight-bathroom lakefront mansion in Odessa.

Thursday, the financier was being held by federal marshals at the Pinellas County Jail, with $50 in his commissary account to buy odds and ends at the canteen.

At 2:30 p.m. he was scheduled to go before a magistrate in Tampa federal court to see whether he'd get out of jail on bail — and if so, on how much.

Court records showed he would be represented by a federal public defender at the hearing.

Berkman, 71, was arrested Tuesday at his Odessa home and faces charges of securities fraud.

Federal prosecutors say he peddled shares of Facebook, piquing the interest of investors eager to get in on the ground floor of the social media company as it went public.

Problem is, federal authorities assert, he didn't actually control any shares of Facebook — and pocketed much of the $8 million he received from more than 50 investors, funneling $5.43 million to satisfy an earlier bankruptcy judgment against him and about $1.6 million toward personal expenses, including travel, dining and bank withdrawals.

The criminal case was being run out of New York and, court records suggest, subsequent hearings will he held up there.

Berkman moved to Florida in early 2006, leaving a life in Oregon where he had once run for governor and served as a Republican Party chairman.

Investors with companies he ran there sued and won a $28 million judgment against him. Amid the publicity from that, the Republican Party of Florida and presidential candidate John McCain gave to charity the thousands of dollars in donations he had made to them.

Odessa adviser accused of Facebook fraud up for bail hearing 03/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 5:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa International Airport morphing into a mini-city unto itself

    Airlines

    TAMPA — By the end of the 2026, Joe Lopano wants Tampa International Airport to function as its own little city.

    Artist rendering of phase two of the $1 billion construction expansion of Tampa International Airport. The airport is transforming 17 acres of airport property that will include at least one hotel, retail and office space and a gas station, among other things.
[Courtesy of Tampa International Airport]
  2. William March: Sheriff Gee denies his resignation was timed to help GOP

    News

    Sheriff David Gee is denying through spokesmen that he planned his 2016 re-election and subsequent resignation to help Republicans hold the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. But Democrats say it seems obvious he did.

  3. Trump meeting with G-7 leaders after going on offensive

    Nation

    TAORMINA, Italy — In the Middle East, President Donald Trump was feted with pageantry, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel seemingly in competition to outdo the other with the warmth of their welcomes and the depth of their pledges of cooperation.

    From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on Friday  in Taormina, Italy. [Getty Images]
  4. Perspective: As the toll climbs, advocates bring renewed attention to Florida gun violence

    Perspective

    Times Staff Writer

    Like most 12-year-old girls, Ra'Mya Eunice loved slumber parties.

    The Empire State Building in New York City was bathed in tangerine light last year to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day. It was part of the Wear Orange campaign led by the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety. [Courtesy of Everytown for Gun Safety]
  5. Lawyer says Kushner willing to cooperate with investigators

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is willing to cooperate with federal investigators looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, his attorney said.

    In this May 23 photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, left, and his wife Ivanka Trump watch during a visit by President Donald Trump to Yad Vashem to honor the victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. The Washington Post is reporting that the FBI is investigating meetings that Trump's son-in-law, Kushner, had in December 2016, with Russian officials. [AP photo]