Bentley Charged In Massive PonziScheme

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PHILADELPHIA - (12/15/04) -- Robert F. Bentley, president of thenow-defunct Bentley Financial Corp., was charged Tuesday with fraudand bribery in the operation of one of the largest Ponzi schemesever that victimized more than 200 credit unions and banks to thetune of millions of dollars. The two-count criminal informationcharges Bentley sold more than $370 million worth of securities hebilled as FDIC-insured CDs which were really just Bentley'spromises to repay the notes, causing losses of more than $24million to investors, including about 100 credit unions. Ifconvicted on the charges Bentley could be sentenced to up to 35years in prison. Bentley has already settled civil fraud chargeswith the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreed to forfeitmore than $2 million to the SEC. The SEC shut down BentleyFinancial in 2001 and created the biggest receivership ever in SEChistory aimed at repaying more than $370 million in claims fromcredit unions and other investors. Frank Mayer, a Philadelphiaattorney administering the receivership, said they have succeededin paying more than $330 million, or 90%, of the claims so far, andare continuing to pursue additional resources. "We're still hopingto get some more recoveries," Mayer told The Credit Union JournalTuesday, of litigation and bond claims he is pursuing on behalf ofthe claimants.

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