Ex-State GOP Chair Charged With Facebook Fraud
Craig Berkman allegedly told investors he could sell them shares he didn't have
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2013 3:21 PM CDT
In this Friday, May 18, 2012 file photo, electronic screens show the price of Facebook shares after they began trading in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(Newser) – Federal authorities have arrested Florida financier—and former Oregon Republican chairman—Craig Berkman for allegedly bilking investors out of millions in a scheme to sell fake Facebook shares. Ahead of Facebook's IPO, Berkman allegedly told investors that he had access to shares of the company, a complete fabrication that netted him $8 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nor was this a one-time scam—the SEC separately charged Berkman with running much the same scheme for LinkedIn and other social media companies, and said he'd used some of the money to pay "court-ordered claims to victims of his past misdeeds."