Singer Co.'s Bilzerian Denies 12 Fraud Counts
Singer Co. Chairman Paul Bilzerian, the takeover speculator indicted last month on 12 counts of fraud, pleaded innocent to the charges today and said he wants to get back into the hunt for other companies to buy.
“My role going forward was to have been, and should still be, to look for further acquisitions,” the 38-year-old defendant told reporters at his arraignment in Manhattan federal court.
His lawyer, Arthur Mathews, told reporters: “Mr. Bilzerian is innocent. It’s unfortunate these charges were brought. It’s burdensome to defend them, but they will be defended and he will be vindicated.”
After Bilzerian entered his plea, he was ordered to entrust his passport to Mathews. He was freed on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Bilzerian’s trial would start.
Bilzerian was indicted Dec. 21 by a federal grand jury on a dozen felony counts linked to four failed takeover situations in 1985 and 1986. The charges are part of a network of securities fraud prosecutions tracing back to the Ivan Boesky insider trading scandal that broke more than two years ago.
None of the charges relate to Bilzerian’s takeover of Singer, a defense contractor he acquired a year ago for $1.06 billion after a protracted struggle.
The takeover marked Bilzerian’s first major acquisition, and he has since been selling off parts of the company. Bilzerian told reporters today that his indictment is “really not having any impact on Singer.”
A former real estate speculator who resides in St. Petersburg, Fla., Bilzerian is one of the most prominent figures to be implicated thus far in an expanding federal crackdown on securities trading abuse.
He was accused in the indictment of violations that helped him amass millions of dollars in wealth through hostile takeover maneuvering aided by Jefferies & Co., a Los Angeles brokerage that allegedly bought stock on Bilzerian’s behalf under a secret arrangement.