South Florida

Palm Beach resident who lost millions of investor cash in Rothstein Ponzi scheme faces federal trial

When times were good for onetime Villanova University basketball standout turned bank chairman Barry R. Bekkedam, his tastes tended toward Ferraris, Aston Martins, and travel by private jet.

But that was before the 2008 financial collapse; before the Palm Beach resident lost millions in investor cash to Scott Rothstein’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme; and before the financial institution he cofounded, Berwyn-based Nova Bank, collapsed into a hole, taking with it $91.2 million in FDIC insurance.

Things threaten to grow even worse this week, as Bekkedam and Brian Hartline, Nova’s former chief executive, face a federal trial, accused of defrauding a government bailout program in an attempt to dig themselves out of their financial morass.

The U.S. Treasury Department has touted the case as the latest attempt to hold top executives accountable for the financial chicanery that brought the banking industry to its knees nearly a decade ago.

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