A Bremen couple who filed a lawsuit in 2010 against their former financial adviser for persuading them to invest in a fund that was tied to infamous stockbroker Bernie Madoff have finally gotten their day in court.

Daniel and Suzanne Goldenson, formerly of New Jersey, have sued John “Launny” Steffens, founder of Spring Mountain Capital, as well as Gregory Ho, the firm’s chief operating officer, for securities fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation and nine other counts. They are seeking unspecified damages but allege they lost more than $1 million.

The complex jury trial began Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland and continued Friday with lengthy testimony from Suzanne Goldenson.

It is expected to resume Monday and last most of the week.

Attorneys for both the Goldensons and Steffens declined to comment on the case prior to a verdict.

According to court documents, the couple moved their considerable investments from Merrill Lynch to Spring Mountain Capital in December 2001 at the urging of Steffens, a former Merrill Lynch executive, who left in June 2001 to start his new firm.

The Goldensons knew Steffens and his wife socially when they were both living in Princeton, New Jersey.

One of the funds the Goldensons invested in was the Ascot Fund, which was managed by J. Ezra Merkin, who was a close associate of Madoff. The Ascot Fund effectively became a “feeder fund” for Madoff, court documents allege.

The Goldensons lost a little more than $1 million when Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was uncovered in 2008. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 for masterminding a $65 billion investment scheme – the largest in U.S. history – in which he took new investor money and turned it into dividends for existing investors.

Many direct investors went after Madoff to get some or all of their investment back, and many have been successful. The Goldensons, however, were indirect investors and have not had much luck recouping what they lost.

In 2010, the couple filed the suit against Steffens and his firm for not providing them with information about where their money was being invested. Had they known of Madoff’s involvement, the Goldensons said they would have pulled their money out of the fund.

Steffens and Spring Mountain Capital, in court documents, have denied that they did anything wrong and said they were victims of Madoff’s as well, to the tune of $6.7 million.

Steffens and his attorneys also have claimed that the Goldensons were apprised of the high degree of risk of their investment, “including the risk the entire amount of the investment may be lost,” according to a document introduced in court on Friday.

Added to which, the Goldensons did make money – more than $1.5 million – off investments in two other funds suggested by Steffens that were not fed to Madoff, court documents state. Also, the Goldensons signed documents that allowed the Ascot Fund managers to delegate investment duties to other individuals, including Madoff, although he was not named in that agreement.

The Goldensons and their attorneys, however, said Steffens should have known about Madoff’s shady practices since Steffens was a high-level executive at Merrill Lynch, a company that refused to invest with Madoff because it was skeptical of his success.

The federal jury hearing the case must consider 11 different counts alleged by the Goldensons, and the testimony this week, which will feature financial analysts and experts, is likely to be dense, a point U.S. District Judge John Woodcock made to jurors before dismissing them on Friday.

Daniel Goldenson has created and sold several publishing businesses during his career. The most recent, Starting Out Inc., a project he launched in 2008 in Damariscotta, was sold in early 2010 to McGraw-Hill for an undisclosed amount. He also made a considerable amount of money prior to 2001 in real estate.

The couple are well known in Lincoln County for philanthropy and land conservation. They donated 165 acres on Bremen Island to Medomak Valley Land Trust and another 50 acres near their property in Bremen to the Maine Audubon.

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