Ex-Ore. GOP head charged in $8M Facebook fraud

Ex-Ore. GOP head charged in $8M Facebook fraud

Credit: KGW Archives

Oregon Republican gubernatorial candidate Craig L. Berkman during a 1994 debate. (File Video)

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 20 at 8:15 AM

NEW YORK -- A former Oregon gubernatorial candidate has been charged in New York in an $8 million securities fraud scheme that capitalized on enthusiasm for Facebook Inc. shares.

Craig L. Berkman (pictured above during a 1994 debate) was arrested Tuesday at his home in Odessa, Fla.

He was charged with claiming to own Facebook shares before the company went public last year when he did not directly own shares. Prosecutors say he pocketed much of the $8 million he received from more than 50 investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced separate civil charges against Berkman.

Prosecutors say Berkman began falsely claiming to investors in December 2010 that he owned Facebook shares. The government said he operated a private company called Ventures Trust II LLC.

Berkman was the former head of the Oregon Republican Party and ran for governor in 1994. It was unclear Tuesday who will represent the 71-year-old investment adviser.

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