Laws of Attraction producer David Bergstein sentenced 8 years in prison over $26 million fraud case

The Associated Press

June 28, 2018 09:59:50 IST

New York: David Bergstein, producer of 2004 romantic comedy Laws of Attraction starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore has been convicted of defrauding investors of over $26 million was sentenced to eight years in prison on 27 June by a judge who said his crimes needed to be punished severely.

David Bergstein (left) and a still from Laws of Attraction starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore. Images via Twitter and IMDb

David Bergstein (left) and a still from Laws of Attraction starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore. Images via Twitter and IMDb

Bergstein, 55, of Hidden Hills, California, also was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and forfeit any proceeds of his crimes.

US District Judge P Kevin Castel in Manhattan said he wanted to send a message that anyone convicted of a similar crime will pay a steep price.

He cried as he requested leniency, saying he wanted to be reunited with his wife and sons as soon as possible.

Castel said the sentence was less than federal sentencing guidelines called for.

Bergstein, who has been incarcerated since his March conviction, asked Castel to sentence him based on his "whole life" and not just the last decade.

In a release, Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Bergstein, who testified at trial, told a story that was full of holes.

"As a Hollywood film producer and entrepreneur, David Bergstein is versed in common themes for fictional writing. Deception, truth, and lies fit the narrative for Bergstein's real life scheme to bilk investors of more than $26 million," Berman said.

Assistant US Attorney Edward Imperatore told the judge that Bergstein engaged in his scheme in 2011 and 2012 by defrauding investors in Weston Capital Asset Management, a New York-based investment adviser.

"He believes he's above the law," Imperatore said.

The prosecutor said Bergstein had a "profound lack of remorse" and remained defiant, bragging that his appeal would be a "slam dunk."

In court papers, prosecutors said Bergstein spent the money he stole on himself, including for personal legal bills, credit card bills totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars, lavish trips, bonsai trees and private jets.

Defence attorney Lee Ginsberg requested no more than five years in prison for his client, citing Bergstein's generosity to others and saying he had an 11-year-old child who should grow up with his father.

Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 09:59 AM