David Bergstein's past casino troubles include Florida fraud arrest

EXCLUSIVE: The would-be mogul posted a $4 millon bond, then set about helping to conceive the winning bid to acquire Miramax from Disney

By TheWrap Aug 11, 2010 2:12PM
David Bergstein, the troubled Hollywood financier whose credits include -- oddly enough -- helping orchestrate the recent sale of Miramax, was arrested in Florida last November over bad checks and unpaid gambling debts involving multiple Las Vegas casinos, TheWrap has learned.

Though one set of fraud charges was dismissed after Bergstein moved to make good, the arrest -- Bergstein’s secret until now -- is the first public indication of criminality in the unfolding Hollywood saga of his calamitous personal and professional lives.


All totaled, he allegedly stiffed casinos for almost $3 million in recent years.


Bergstein reacted angrily Tuesday to a message left by TheWrap, describing this story on his home phone.


“Lose my f---ing number,” he demanded after calling back. The message left on the residential number (taken from his arrest sheet) amounted to “harassing,” he said. Subsequent messages left on his cell phone and email were unanswered.


Bergstein was picked up Nov. 29, 2009, on a fugitive warrant in the port of Cape Canaveral -- after returning from a Disney cruise -- and jailed on $3.7 million bond by the Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff's Department, according to a copy of the arrest notice obtained by TheWrap.


By the next afternoon, he had walked free. “Fraud/Insuff. Funds,” the arrest records noted.


Until now, Bergstein was widely known to have stiffed only the Mandalay, which has doggedly pursued him in civil court for repayment of $1 million. But the felony fraud charges stemmed from bad checks that Bergstein allegedly floated at a widening circle of casinos.

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