An extensive investigation into the personal finances of imprisoned investment banker Dennis B. Levine disclosed that while he was engaged in an insider stock trading scheme, Levine led a high-rolling life style that included a Ferrari, a $450,000 apartment renovation and an annual clothing bill of about $20,000.
A report on Levine's finances prepared by court-appointed receiver Sheldon I. Goldfarb also raises questions about whether Levine properly accounted for all of his illegal stock trading profits. But the report, filed in New York federal court yesterday, said there was no evidence that Levine hid assets from the government.
The report said Levine's claim that he cannot account for about $200,000 because he lost the money gambling was "unsatisfactorily unresolved." Levine would have been required to turn that money over to the government if he still had it.
Levine admitted to criminal charges in June and simultaneously agreed to turn over $11.5 million in illegal profits to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The money will be used eventually to satisfy claims by people who were financially hurt by Levine's illegal trades.
All told, Levine earned more than $12 million in illegal profits by trading on inside information gleaned from his work as a corporate merger specialist at several prominent investment banks. Levine also received information from other bankers and lawyers, sometimes in exchange for cash payments.
In 1985, Levine entered an inside information-swapping arrangement with former stock speculator Ivan F. Boesky. After pleading guilty in June and cooperating with government investigators, Levine implicated Boesky, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid the SEC a record $100 million in penalties and forfeited profits.
For more than a year, Goldfarb has been investigating Levine's finances and has been attempting to sell some of his assets.
If the report filed yesterday is approved, as expected, the SEC will next formulate a plan under which claims against Levine's forfeited assets -- and those of Levine's associates convicted in the scheme -- can be made.
The total amount of assets expected to be available to claimants from the Levine insider ring, excluding the sum paid by Boesky, is about $15 million, sources said.
Goldfarb interviewed each of the investment bankers and lawyers known to have participated in Levine's insider stock trading conspiracy, as well as the members of Levine's immediate family.
The report noted that two family members were unaware of Levine's purported gambling and that another witness "stated that Mr. Levine was not a gambler and stated that Mr. Levine told him that gambling was a vice and was to be avoided."
Levine's brother Robert, however, told Goldfarb that he did recall gambling while on trips to the Bahamas, according to the report.
"The receiver's report confirms that they have found no indication of any undisclosed assets in his possession," said Levine's attorney, Martin Flumenbaum. "For certain items, there were simply no receipts and there was no corroboration that could be obtained... . We believe the receiver's report fully vindicates Mr. Levine's position."
The inventory of expenses incurred by Levine during the seven years he was engaged in illegal stock trading indicates that the fallen investment banker enjoyed an exalted standard of living. In all, Levine withdrew about $1.9 million from the Bahamian account where he kept his illegal profits; the rest of his earnings came from his legitimate salary and bonuses.
Explaining why he paid out $60,000 in cash in restaurants during a five-year period, Levine told Goldfarb during interviews that "it was not unusual for him to spend anywhere from $200 to $300 cash per meal," according to the report.
During the $450,000 renovation of his Park Avenue apartment, Levine spent $86,000 on an interior designer and another $40,000 for an architect's work, the report said. He also spent about $100,000 on works of art.