Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Craig Berkman was arrested and charged today for $8 million in securities fraud schemes.
First reported by the Portland Business Journal, Berkman is in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly defrauding investors, promising pre-IPO shares of Facebook that he did not control or own.
"As alleged, Craig Berkman seized on the interest in a highly coveted investment opportunity to swindle investors out of millions," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says in a press release.
Berkman, 71, was arrested in his Odessa, Fla., and is charged with two counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the four counts in the complaint, the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys office says.
The government says that Berkman defrauded investors through two separate LLCs between 2010 and 2012.
Berkman's arrest follows years of similar schemes from the high-profile financier, who previously managed some of Portland's largest investment funds. In 2006, he was sued by 50 investors for fraud in Multnomah County Circuit Court, saying he plundered investors' funds for his own benefit. He was found guilty in 2008 and filed for bankruptcy. In a tearful interview with WW in 2006, Berkman admitted that he "loaned" himself $5 million in his investors' money.
Berkman ran for governor of Oregon in 1994 and is a former chairman of the state Republican Party.