Judge hits BBX and its CEO with a $5.85 million fine

Alan B. Levan
Alan B. Levan

A federal judge hit BBX Capital Corp. and its chief executive officer with a $5.85 million fine after a jury found that the Fort Lauderdale-based public company misled the investment community about its loan losses during the 2007 collapse in the housing market.

U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles ordered BBX chairman and CEO Alan B. Levan to pay $1.3 million of the fine and barred him from serving on the board or in the management of any publicly traded company for two years.

The plaintiff in the case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, wanted the judge to order a lifetime ban on Levan leading any public company

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The judge delayed the effective date of the bar order for 90 days to give Levan time to appeal it. BBX Capital said Levan will resign as chairman and CEO if he loses his appeal of the bar order.

In the SEC case against Levan and BBX Capital, formerly known as BankAtlantic, jurors decided late last year that the Levan and BBX committed fraud on a conference call with stock analysts by failing to provide a full disclosure of weakness in the bank’s loan portfolio.

“Levan’s actions were egregious,” Judge Gayles said in court. “He purposely misled investors and shareholders about the health of BankAtlantic. These weren’t isolated events.” [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth