Did Magnum P.I. Make Rothstein Feeder Do It?

A key player in the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme was featured in a Philadelphia newspaper over the weekend. In the article, the player talks of how the debacle has "forced him out of the investment-advisory business and left him stunned at how things fell apart."

Here's the lead quote from the player: "I rip my eyeballs out for an investment that didn't work. What did we do wrong? How did it not work? In some . . . in this environment . . . there's nothing you could have done."

In that quote, he's specifically talking about the real estate collapse, but it gives you an idea where his head is at. The article makes a lot of his use of a private jet and fancy cars, including an Aston Martin and Ferrari, which he said he always wanted because Tom Selleck drove one on Magnum P.I. 

As a youth, he said, he watched Magnum P.I. just for the cars -- in the 1980s television series, the star drove a Ferrari.

"I'm not just some guy who has a Ferrari," he said.

Hit the jump for more.

The player is, of course, Barry Bekkedam, of Ballamor Capital Management. Ballamor lost $30 million in the Rothstein scheme, according to court documents. You can read the Philadelphia Inquirer article -- which describes a series of disastrous Bekkedam investments -- here.

From the article:

During an interview last month in the Radnor Financial Center, home to what had been the Ballamor offices, Bekkedam, 43, still looked fit and lean. He wore a light-blue dress shirt, faded jeans, and loafers with dark socks. He refused to have his picture taken, pointing out that he never sought coverage during good times.

Bekkedam is perhaps best known here as a basketball player at Archbishop Carroll and Villanova University in the 1980s. He has not sold Ballamor, which he founded in 1997 and expanded quickly to a peak of $3 billion in assets under management - though private deals are tricky to value.

In its latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing, dated March 31, the company claimed $1.67 billion assets under management. One client, a medical-malpractice insurer on Long Island, accounted for about $1 billion, said Bekkedam, who is a native of Ontario, Canada.

Unable to sell because his company was in too much distress after its run-in with convicted Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein, Bekkedam reached a "cooperation agreement" under which another registered investment adviser, Family Endowment Partners L.P., of Waltham, Mass., will assume responsibility for his clients, if they agree. 

The involvement of Bekkedam -- who was recently engaged to local real estate agent and insurance broker Diane Barnett -- in Rothstein's scheme was further detailed in the filing last week of Bill Scherer's amended civil lawsuit targeting alleged co-conspirators in the Ponzi.  

Bekkedam boasted at a Las Vegas conference last May that he steered $100 million in his investors' money -- which he said came from the "ultrahigh-net-worth world" -- to Rothstein's scheme. He put the money in through George Levin and Banyon, and his chief client was wealthy Fort Lauderdale businessman Doug Von Allmen, who put a total of $100 million into Rothstein's scheme, some of it through Ballamor and some of it directly. 

Bekkedam, who is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, allegedly enticed Von Allmen into putting about $100 million into the Ponzi scheme. Bekkedam touted Levin to Von Allmen, according to the lawsuit, saying Levin was a "mentor" to Rothstein, was worth more than $400 million, and would personally guarantee the investments.

"Bekkedam persisted in his pursuit of inducing Mr. Von Allmen's investment, going as far as purchasing a dinner aboard Mr. Von Allmen's boat at a charity auction and inviting Rothstein and Levin, along with their wives, to attend as guests," states the lawsuit. "The dinner was held on April 4, 2009, which was the first time Mr. Von Allmen met Levin. By late April 2009, Bekkedam's perseverance paid off ...".

Von Allmen's "boat," mind you, is the 197-foot megayacht Linda Lou (or perhaps Von Allmen's other multimillion-dollar yacht, the Lady Linda).

The lawsuit brings into question Bekkedam's other dealings with Levin, as well, including Levin's $1 million investment in Ballamor and the $5 million (with a total of $18 million promised) that Levin put into Nova Bank, where Bekkedam had an interest and served as chairman.

There's more to the story, including the entrance of a would-be "white knight" investor from Tinsel Town, that we'll get to later.

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