Former Main Line money manager Barry R. Bekkedam was sentenced Monday to 11 months in prison for his role in a loan scheme in 2009 at Nova Bank designed to defraud the U.S. Treasury Department's bank bailout program of $13.5 million.
Bekkedam, well-known in the Philadelphia region from his Villanova University basketball days in the late 1980s, was found guilty in April of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, fraud against the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and two counts of making false statements to the federal government.
Also found guilty in April was Nova Bank cofounder and former chief executive Brian Hartline, who has already started serving a 14-month sentence at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Bekkedam, 49, who was chairman of Berwyn-based Nova Bank and its holding company, Nova Financial Holdings Inc., until 2007, declined to comment after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II in Center City.
Bekkedam later commented in a news release: “I vehemently maintain my innocence and I plan to appeal. I look forward to presenting the unadulterated facts to the Court of Appeals, and I am confident that the truth will prevail.”
Jones gave Bekkedam - who had a taste for Ferraris, Aston Martins, and private-jet travel to meet clients - 60 days to report to whatever prison is selected by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Bekkedam's lawyer, Christopher D. Man, asked for a stay of the sentence during an appeal, but Jones rejected that request.
Jones did say, however, that he was impressed by Bekkedam's record of good works that came through in 21 character-witness letters.
"As many people as you hurt, a lot of people were helped by you," Darnell told the 6-foot-10 Bekkedam after sentencing him.
Bekkedam told the judge he is the type of person who is always willing to jump in to help friends without thinking.
"This is a case where I should have thought a lot more," Bekkedam said of his efforts to help Nova win bailout money.
Nova was founded in 2002, when Hartline and Bekkedam organized investors to buy USABancShares.com Inc. and renamed it.
About 30 of Bekkedam's former clients at his Radnor investment advisory firm, Ballamor Capital Management, controlled about half the Nova shares, which were not publicly traded, according to a 2012 deposition by Hartline in an unrelated civil lawsuit.
Prosecutors charged in a 2014 indictment that Bekkedam orchestrated a series of fraudulent loans to customers who would then immediately invest the money back into Nova to help the bank qualify for bailout money.
One of the Nova investors was George Levin, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., businessman who had helped facilitate Bekkedam's investment of about $30 million for clients in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme led by Scott Rothstein. Levin received a $5 million loan from Nova.
That Ponzi-scheme debacle led in 2010 to the closure of Ballamor, which had received a line of credit from Levin. That year, Bekkedam moved from the Main Line to Hobe Sound, Fla.
Ultimately, the Treasury Department rescinded its conditional offer of money to Nova for reasons unrelated to the fraud. Nova was closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in October 2012.