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

(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."

In this Friday, May 18, 2012 file photo, electronic screens show the price of Facebook shares after they began trading in New York.
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)
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