- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - A jury has found that the former chief executive officer of BankAtlantic Bancorp intentionally defrauded investors about the bank’s financial health as its real estate loans soured in 2007.

The verdict Monday against Alan Levan came in a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which will now seek a civil penalty against Levan. The SEC also wants Levan prohibited from holding a future executive position with a publicly traded company.

Another SEC charge was that Levan intentionally created a 2007 annual report that understated the bank’s loss by $53 million.

Levan can appeal the jury verdict. He said in a prepared statement that jurors were given incorrect instructions and that his statements to investors were true. A March 4 hearing is set to consider possible penalties.

BB&T; Corp. bought BankAtlantic’s assets in 2012. Levan formed a new company called BBX Capital Corp.

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