PhillyDeals: Pilot for Berwind Group charged in fraud

Kevin Boardman, director of aviation and chief pilot for Berwind Corp., has been indicted on federal theft charges. (Photo from LinkedIn.com)
Kevin Boardman, director of aviation and chief pilot for Berwind Corp., has been indicted on federal theft charges. (Photo from LinkedIn.com)
Posted: July 09, 2014

A pilot who spent 16 years ferrying the Philadelphia owners of Elmer's Glue and a collection of drug, energy, and manufacturing firms around the country in Gulfstream jets faces federal fraud charges after allegedly using credit cards and phony firms to drain $2.7 million from his bosses' accounts since 2006.

Berwind Group, the Center City investment firm owned by heirs of one of the nation's great coal-mining fortunes, acknowledged that it had terminated its chief pilot and director of aviation, Kevin N. Boardman, and reported him earlier this year to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The Berwind business can be traced to 1886, when Edward J. Berwind helped create Berwind-White Coal Mining Co.

Boardman was indicted Monday by a federal grand jury. The indictment did not mention Berwind, but Boardman was well known as Berwind's pilot, and the company confirmed his identity.

"He's presumed innocent. We're in the process of reviewing the paperwork," Boardman's attorney, William J. Brennan, told me.

The indictment, handed down at the request of Philadelphia federal prosecutor Zane David Memeger, alleges that Boardman submitted "false and inflated invoices" to Berwind for two firms he set up, which "never provided" actual services to Berwind.

After leaving Berwind, Boardman sought work as a contract pilot for Gulfstream 550 and 650 jets, according to a professional notice he posted on a social-media site. He had flown those jets for Berwind. Those planes, even used models, sell for more than $50 million apiece, according to Gulfstream.

After Boardman was let go, "Berwind identified a series of irregular transactions," did an internal investigation, and told "appropriate authorities," Bruce McKenney, Berwind senior vice president, said in a statement. "The company has fully cooperated with the authorities."

Berwind wouldn't say why Boardman was fired, or why the firm needed jets.

Ace finds place

Ace Ltd., the Swiss-based global insurer whose biggest business is the former Insurance Co. of North America, said last week that it planned to pay $685 million to buy Ital Seguros S.A., the biggest property-casualty insurer in fast-growing Brazil, from the bank Itau Unibanco S.A.

The new Ace arm has nearly $1 billion in annual gross premiums and 18 percent of the Brazil corporate insurance market, the largest in Latin America, says analyst Paul Newsome in a report to clients of Sandler O'Neill & Partners, New York.

Ace, which says it's licensed in 140 countries, already sells business, health, life, and accident insurance in Brazil. Ace bought ABA Seguros of Mexico for $865 million in 2013, among other Latin American acquisitions.

Ace has made itself "one of the few truly global insurance operations [thanks to] lower taxes and more flexible policy licensing," according to Newsome.

He credited operating under Swiss taxation and licensing, rather than the United States, for some of Ace's success.

The insurer keeps buying smaller companies, in contrast with U.S.-based insurers that have principally used excess capital for share repurchases because they can't think of any business they like better than propping up their own stock, the analyst concluded.


JoeD@phillynews.com

215-854-5194 @PhillyJoeD

www.inquirer.com/phillydeals


 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|