Alan Levan, the former chairman of Florida-based BankAtlantic Bancorp, has been found responsible by a federal jury for intentionally defrauding investors in 2007 right before the bottom fell out of Florida's housing market.
Levan will not face criminal charges, as the judgment came as the result of a civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Instead, the SEC will seek to slap Levan with a civil fine and ban him from being an executive at any public company.
According to The Daily Business Review, the SEC claims Levan told investors that he was planning on keeping loans that he actually had planned to sell. This caused the bank's net worth to fall short of what investors had been lead to believe by $53 million during 2007.
Meanwhile, the SEC dug up internal emails showing that Levan was concerned about the viability of those same land loans.
"In this case, defendant Levan kept investors in the dark," SEC attorney James M. Carlson told the jury during the case. "You can not count on Mr. Levan to tell the investing public the truth, but you can count on us to go through these lies, pick them apart and present them to you. We ask you to hold him and his company guilty for violating federal securities laws."
Three years ago a jury also found Levan liable for the same actions in a class action suit brought about by share holders, but Levan appealed and had the decision cleared.
Levan's attorney seem hopefully that this decision will meet the same fate.
Bank Atlantic managed to persevere during the worst of the recession while many other banks were failing, but ultimately its assets were sold to BB&T in 2011.
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