June 25th, 2013 12:08 pm | Nigel Jaquiss News | Posted In: Business, Politics

Craig Berkman Pleads Guilty in Facebook Fraud

craigberkman_aCraig Berkman - Photo: Robert Caplin

Former Oregon GOP gubernatorial candidate Craig Berkman pleaded guilty today in a New York federal court to one count each of wire fraud and securities fraud.

"I deeply regret my actions," a weeping Berkman, wearing beige jail scrubs, said at the hearing on Tuesday according to Reuters. "I've devastated my family." He apologized to his investors, saying some of them were "dear, dear friends." "I'm very, very sorry," he said."

Berkman, who ran unsuccessfully for governor here in 1994, was long known as a top political contributor and venture capitalist, before leaving Oregon for Florida in 2005.

Before he left, however, more than 50 investors sued him for fraud. In a tearful 2006 interview, Berkman confessed to WW that he'd "loaned" himself more than $5 million of his investors money. Many of Portland's wealthiest investors pursued Berkman in court, eventually winning large judgements against him and sending him into bankruptcy.

But according to his federal indictment last year, Berkman picked up in Florida where he'd left off here, somehow convincing wealthy investors that he had access to Facebook shares before the company went public.

As part of his plea agreement, Reuters reports, Berkman agreed to repay investors in his Facebook scheme $13.2 million.
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