The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against Barry Bekkedam, who is accusing of persuading people to invest up to $100 million in ex-law firm chairman Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme.
The complaint filed Wednesday alleged Bekkedam, who headed Ballamor Capital Management LLC from 1999 to 2010, helped form Banyon Investments with George Levin and Frank Preve. Banyon was the largest feeder fund for Rothstein’s $1.2 billion settlement financing scheme.
Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for masterminding the Ponzi scheme—one of Florida’s largest ever—from his Fort Lauderdale law firm.
Bekkedam is a former Villanova University basketball player who founded the Philadelphia-based investment advisory firm Ballamor and built it into a business managing $2 billion in assets. Rothstein’s fraud collapsed in 2009, and Bekkedam gave up his SEC registration in 2010.
Bekkedam’s attorney, Christopher R. Hall of Saul Ewing in Philadelphia, declined comment.
The 31-page complaint claims he was approached by Levin in 2009 to solicit investors for Rothstein. Levin, Bekkedam and others formed Banyon with Levin serving as general partner and Ballamor as the limited partner representative.
Levin and Preve also face pending SEC complaints.
Bekkedam at one time emailed Levin, “When I meet with people and say we have this due diligence and don’t, it makes it even more difficult in this environment.”
The SEC alleged Bekkedam concealed from clients and prospective investors the nature of his relationship with Levin and his “clear conflicts of interest resulting from the financial arrangements between Levin and Bekkedam and his affiliates.”
For example, in 2009, Levin bought about $3 million in municipal bonds from Bekkedam in exchange for Levin’s agreement to help Bekkedam restructure $10 million of Levin’s personal and business debt, invest up to $5 million in Ballamor and invest $5 million in Nova Bank co-founded by Bekkedam.
Bekkedam told Levin he was going through a divorce, living a lavish lifestyle and having financial problems because his investments were underperforming, the complaint said.
“Levin agreed to help Bekkedam with the understanding that Bekkedam would raise $100 million from his advisory clients and others to fund the purchase of Rothstein’s purported settlements,” states the SEC complaint.
“Throughout this time period, Bekkedam made material misrepresentations and omissions when recommending the Banyon Fund to his advisory clients and other prospective investors,” the SEC charged.
In one email to a prospective Banyon Fund investor, Bekkadam stated, “Remember that the strategy is very simple and has complete transparency. We view the TD Bank account daily. We receive biweekly collateral audit reviews from an independent firm etc. etc.”
The SEC charged Bekkedam with violating federal securities laws by making untrue statements of material facts and defrauding clients through artifice.
The SEC seeks to have Bekkedam “disgorge any and all ill-gotten gains” plus interest.
Bekkedam, 47, lives in Hobe Sound, according to the complaint.