The Real Deal Miami

BankAtlantic securities fraud trial begins

October 13, 2010 01:15PM

As the trial for BankAtlantic Bancorp executives began yesterday in Miami, a lawyer for company shareholders told jurors that the defendant misled investors about losses on land development loans to inflate stock prices. The securities fraud, said attorney Mark Arisohn, was carried out through a number of conference calls and press releases in which “the picture they painted was that the bank’s lending business was less risky than it really was.” An attorney for Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic countered that investors were given “plenty of warning” about the risks of the Florida real estate loans in its portfolio by 2007, the same year the investors sued. The bank, now valued at $58 million, hasn’t reported a profit since the second quarter of 2007. Shares have fallen from more than $44 in January 2005 to 95 cents yesterday at the close of trading. [Bloomberg]