Film producer David Bergstein has been convicted in federal court in New York of seven counts related to defrauding investors of more than $26 million.
He will be sentenced June 8 by US District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who presided over the four-week trial. Some of the seven counts of the conviction carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Bergstein, who lives in Hidden Hills, California, was remanded following the return of the jury’s verdict.
“As a unanimous jury swiftly found, David Bergstein defrauded investors out of more than $26 million,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “He withheld material information, transferred funds without disclosing conflicts of interest, and misappropriated funds for his own use. He now stands convicted of serious federal crimes.”
Bergstein, a high-flying producer, financier and philanthropist, has executive producer credits including Accidental Love, Father Of Invention, and In The Heart Of The Sea, but none of the investors he’s charged with swindling appear to have been involved in the movie business.
According to the federal court indictment, Bergstein and co-defendant Keith Wellner, the former general counsel and COO of Weston Capital Asset Management, engaged in a scheme to defraud by concealing material information from investors about financial transactions involving their money; transferring funds from one pool of investors to make payments to another pool of investors without the required disclosures to investors concerning conflicts of interest; and misappropriating a portion of funds transferred from investor accounts for their own benefit.
Co-defendant Wellner had previously pled guilty and has been cooperating with the Government.The FBI claimed that Bergstein and Wellner used the investments to fund their lifestyles.
In 2014, Weston Capital and several current and former executives – including Wellner – settled a similar SEC claim that they’d fraudulently shifted more than $17 million from one investment to another without informing investors and pocketed some of the proceeds.