Saturday, 24 March 2012

Stanford International Bank, Ltd. (In Liquidation) - Invitation to Online Presentation for the creditors/victims on April 4 at 11:00 a.m. EDT / Stanford International Bank, Ltd. (en Liquidación) – In

Dear Creditors/Victims -
The Joint Liquidators of Stanford International Bank, Ltd. invite you to attend their 3rd online presentation:

  • LIVE Webinar featuring joint liquidators Marcus Wide & Hugh Dickson – The Joint Liquidators will be updating creditors/victims about the current status of the liquidation, reviewing the proof of debt claims process and responding to questions from creditors/victims who will have the opportunity to send in questions during the presentation.
  • Wednesday, April 4 at 11:00 a.m. EDT – presentation is expected to last approximately 1 hour.
  • Register today – limited spaces available - Please visit to complete registration. There is no cost for you to attend this presentation.
  • Please log-in to Webinar 10 minutes prior to start time.
  • You will also have the option of listening to the presentation in Spanish.
If you are unable to listen to the presentation on Wednesday, April 4 please note that the presentation will also be posted to the liquidation website ( approximately 24 hours after the conclusion of the presentation.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Allen Stanford, American Drug Lord

Posted on March 21, 2012 by dhopsicker

Missing from coverage of the conviction two weeks ago of Texas "financier"
Allen Stanford for running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme was any mention of Stanford's long-time role as an authentic-if no longer certified-American Drug Lord.

"Sir" Allen (the title was bought) is an excellent example of a curiously under-publicized species: the American Drug Lord. (The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration claims the species doesn't even exist; it may be they have their own reasons.)

To most observers in the Caribbean, however, Stanford's narco-bank was as visible a manifestation of the global drug trade as a homemade semi-submersible submarine, or a convoy of SUV's snaking through Sinaloa's Sierra Madre Mountains.

Banks like his immodestly-named Stanford International Bank on the island of Antigua, where financial regulators are apparently even more easily-corrupted than their counterparts in the U.S., are as essential to global drug trafficking as fleets of late-model, preferably American-registered luxury jets.

"Every island has one," one veteran Caribbean observer told us from Kingston Jamaica, referring to Stanford's bank. "The days are mostly gone when you could walk in and lay out three suitcases of cash and get a penthouse condo on Miami Beach."

"You can't spend money you haven't first deposited in a bank these days."

It's the little things

Conspicuously missing at Stanford's trial were answers to questions widely being asked, especially in the Caribbean, where many lost their life savings, about Stanford's relationship with the CIA.

Was Stanford's bank in Antigua just the latest in a long line of money-laundering banks-like Castle Bank, Nugan Hand, and Wachovia-used to move money around by the CIA and organized crime?

One telling detail: when Stanford's fellow Ponzi All-Star Art Nadel (of Huffman Aviation in Venice Florida fame) went on the lam, he lit out for Slidell, Louisiana, the legendary site of Carlos Marcello's hunting lodge just outside New Orleans.

After Stanford went on the lam he was found in Fredericksburg, Virginia, just over the hill from "The Farm," the training facility of one of the U.S.
Government's most famous three-letter agencies at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico.

White kid gloves only, please

The kid-glove treatment accorded two of Stanford's accomplices is another clue to Stanford's provenance. Without their help, say observers, Stanford's operation would have been shut down as much as a decade earlier.

Both were high-level U.S. Federal Agency employees, one in the DEA, the other in the SEC, America's Securities Exchange Commission, charged with preventing financial fraud.

Neither Agency has exactly covered itself in glory in living memory.

In the $3 trillion financial heist in 2008, the SEC, unfortunately, got there a little late.

And in the now 40-year old War on Drugs, the DEA cannot be said to be "shock and awe-ing" the global drug trade into anything like submission.

In the aftermath of Stanford's arrest, the two former high-level Federal employees fared pretty well. One, deeply and criminally implicated by numerous sources, paid just a $50,000 fine, and never even faced criminal charges.

And when the second one did face criminal charges, a miracle occurred.

The 'Immaculate Acquittal'

It's morning in Miami. Tuesday the 10th of February, 2010. Inside the Federal Courthouse downtown something extremely rare is about to take place:
a miracle, at least the closest thing to a miracle veteran court-watchers have seen in a long time.

It comes at the end of the trial of Thomas Raffanello, Allen Stanford's Chief of Security, and the long-time chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Miami office. Before joining Stanford, Raffanello led investigations against Manuel Noriega and the Medellin Cartel.

There has long been speculation about Stanford's connections with the world of "los narcos." But Raffanello is the one verifiable link between Allen Stanford and the global drug trade.

Raffanello, accused of illegally shredding documents at Stanford Financial Group after Stanford's arrest, was taken to a Fort Lauderdale federal courtroom in shackles, facing charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and destroying records.

But he had committed no crime, his lawyers said in a court filing. He was simply 'taking out the garbage.'

On the morning of February 10, 2010, Raffanello sat in court awaiting the jury's verdict as the jury asked for clarification on one of the charges.
Then, after they retired to continue their deliberations, Judge Richard Goldberg ordered the charges dismissed.

Lawyers called the ruling extremely rare, almost unprecedented. "Something smells here," said one courtroom observer afterwards.

It was the Immaculate Acquittal.

"Judges always wait for the jury to finish deliberations. If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, case closed. If they find him guilty, the judge has the power to over turn the conviction. But in that case the judge proclaims, 'Judgment notwithstanding the verdict.'"

"We witnessed a miracle," said one of Raffanello's defense attorneys, Janice Burton Sharpstein.

It's a small world, after all

Sharpstein is married to Richard Sharpstein, a Miami attorney who represented one of the trigger men in the assassination of Barry Seal in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 1986.

We interviewed him while researching "Barry & the Boys." But the story he told us speaks volumes about the world of Allen Stanford.

"Why was Barry Seal murdered?" we asked.

"Seal had been irate when the IRS seized all his property," Sharstein related. "The IRS man said to Seal, 'You owe us $30 million for the money you made drug smuggling."

"Hey, I work for you," was Seal's reply. "We both work for the same people."

"You don't work for us," the IRS agent replied. "We're the IRS."

"Then Unglesby (Seal's attorney) watched as Seal place a call to (then-Vice
President) George Bush," Sharpstein stated.

"He heard Barry say, 'If you don't get these assholes off my back I'm going to blow the whistle on the Contra scheme."

"What Unglesby says is, 'That's why he's dead.'

Allen Stanford isn't dead. But he pissed somebody off bad enough to make him wish he were.

Liquidator Explains Role in Congress Affair

Thursday, 22 March 2012 Caribarena news Antigua News

Antigua St John's - Marcus Wide, managing director at Grant Thornton, has
said although his firm assisted the US Congressmen involved in the petition
to investigate the Antigua government's potential involvement in the US$7
billion Stanford Ponzi Scheme, his office does not prosecute criminal

But it will be pursuing all "improper transactions" made by Stanford
International Bank (SIB).

In an exclusive interview with on Wednesday, Wide confirmed
that his office had assisted the US Congressmen with the liquidation and its independence from the Government of Antigua.

He said too that the office of Grant Thornton, which was appointed on May
13, 2011 by Justice Mario Michel of the Eastern Caribbean High Court, as the new liquidators of Stanford International Bank Ltd, had even "corrected some factual information in relation to the liquidation in the original resolution". asked the liquidator whether his office intends to file any
charges in Antigua & Barbuda or go after any political contributions, legal
fees, or even the cricket prizes lavishly handed out by Stanford while a
knight in the country.

"We are not criminal prosecutors, so unless we believe we can win and
collect, it would not be proper to spend money that would otherwise be
available to the depositors and victims," Wide said.

He added, however, that Grant Thornton intends to pursue all "improper"
transactions where it is commercially reasonable to do so.

"This includes assessing the quality of the evidence about the transaction,
an assessment of the law, and chances of success in court, and an assessment of our ability to enforce the judgment and recover money for the benefit of the estate," Wide said.

The liquidator pointed out, however, that his firm does not intend to
duplicate claims already made by receiver Ralph Janvey.

Regarding the general position taken by Grant Thornton on the move by the US Congressmen, Wide said, "We have no position or comment on any dispute
between the Government of Antigua and the Government of the United States of America."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Law firms lose one defense against Ponzi scheme class actions

By Terry Baynes
Thomson Reuters News & Insight

Law firms that represented and advised convicted Ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford may be on the hook for millions of dollars lost in the bogus investment scheme and could face class actions by investors seeking to recoup losses.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that federal securities law does not prevent state class actions against lawyers and firms accused of helping Stanford. The ruling overturns a lower-court decision holding that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act, or SLUSA, prevents class actions alleging securities fraud from being brought under state law.

The 5th Circuit decision is a setback for the New York-based law firms Proskauer Rose and Chadbourne & Parke as well as attorney Thomas Sjoblom, who worked at both firms. The class actions, filed under state law, accuse Sjoblom, Stanford's former lawyer, of obstructing an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. They also allege that Proskauer and Chadbourne were negligent for employing Sjoblom and that the firms are responsible for his wrongdoing.

The appeals court's decision turned on the relationship between the alleged fraud and the purchase or sale of securities.

Plaintiff investors filed the cases under state law because they had little other choice. Federal law does not allow plaintiffs to bring claims for negligence or claims for aiding and abetting fraud. What's more, the 2008 Supreme Court case, Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta, created barriers to using federal securities law to sue law firms that represented accused swindlers.

"When you have a case like this, suing aiders and abettors, the only way to do it is to sue under state law," said Edward Snyder, a lawyer for the investors, who filed the 5th Circuit suit under Texas law.

Yet SLUSA, passed in 1998, prevents fraud suits involving nationally-traded securities from being brought under state law. Proskauer, Chadborne, Sjoblom and other defendants in the 5th Circuit case had tried to use SLUSA to block the Stanford investors' claims.

In Ponzi schemes such as Stanford's, investors are often betting on some kind of uncovered security, such as a certificate of deposit or feeder fund. Therefore, much of the courtroom wrangling has centered on the meaning of the phrase, "in connection with" a covered security.

In October, Dallas federal judge David Godbey ruled that SLUSA did preclude state law class actions. Godbey found that investors were led to think that they were investing in certificates of deposit with a bank whose portfolio included covered securities. In addition, many of the investors sold securities to invest in the CDs. Those facts were enough to bar the case under SLUSA, Godbey ruled. But the 5th Circuit disagreed.

"The misrepresentations made by the Proskauer Defendants are not more than tangentially related to the purchase or sale of covered securities and therefore, SLUSA preclusion does not apply," Judge Edward Prado wrote for the three-judge panel.

The 5th Circuit is the first federal appeals court to address whether SLUSA applies in the context of a Ponzi scheme, according to Phillip Preis, a lawyer for some of the investors. The panel did consider several conflicting decisions from a federal court in the Southern District of New York, related to the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. The 2nd Circuit has yet to rule in any of those cases.

"In the whole area of Ponzi schemes, it's an important decision," said the plaintiffs' lawyer Snyder. He said judges have tended to expand the reach of SLUSA to block class actions over the years. "Finally, the 5th circuit stood up and put up a firewall," he said, adding that the decision allows a separate class action against law firm Adams and Reese to also proceed.

In a statement, Proskauer said it still has numerous other defenses at its disposal that the court did not consider.

Chadbourne said in a statement, "We moved to dismiss this case on many grounds, not just SLUSA... The district court will now have to address all those other issues."

The defendants have argued that they have immunity because they were acting as counsel to Stanford. They also claim that they had no duty to Stanford's investors and no fraudulent intent.

Sjoblom, who was an assistant chief litigation counsel at the SEC from 1987 to 1999, declined to comment on the litigation. He was a partner at Proskauer from 2006 to 2009 and at Chadbourne from 2002 to 2006, according to the website of the Law Office of Thomas V. Sjoblom in Washington, D.C.

The investors' class action against the law firms and Sjoblom is Troice et al v. Proskauer Rose et al, U.S. Court of Appeal for the 5th Circuit, No. 11-11031.

For the plaintiffs: Edward Snyder of Castillo Snyder.

For Proskauer: James Rouhandeh of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

For Chadbourne: Daniel Beller of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

For Sjoblom: Mindy Caplan of McKenna, Long & Aldridge; William Mateja of Fish & Richardson.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Stanford's Victims, Part 2

by: Andrew Schneider
More than three years have passed since R. Allen Stanford's financial empire was revealed as a massive Ponzi scheme. In the second of a two part series, KUHF business reporter Andrew Schneider looks at the hurdles investors face in trying to recover even a fraction of their losses.

Last year, the Securities & Exchange Commission ruled the Securities Investor Protection Corporation liable for the losses of Stanford investors. Stanford Group Company, the Houston-based broker-dealer that sold certificates of deposits in Stanford International Bank, was a SIPC member. The SEC is now suing SIPC to force it to comply.

Stephen Harbeck is SIPC's president. He says it's clear Stanford's victims suffered a terrible wrong. But he says correcting that wrong is not SIPC's responsibility.

"The losses are in the billions of dollars, more money than SIPC has, and we view this as a dramatic changing of our mission by the SEC."

Harbeck says SIPC's mandate is strictly to make good on funds in the hands of brokers. That's why SIPC helped investors in the case of Bernie Madoff, the only Ponzi scheme larger than Stanford's.

"Contrast that with the Stanford situation, where the Stanford victims instructed them to send their cash to the nation of Antigua, where he had a bank, and that bank issued them physical securities."

Harbeck says the proper place for Stanford's victims to seek relief is with SEC-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey and accounting firm Grant Thornton, court-appointed liquidator for Antigua. The two are competing to recover hundreds of millions of dollars from Stanford accounts scattered around the world. Kevin Sadler of Baker Botts is Janvey's lead attorney.

"Although we've tried very hard to find a way to reach agreement with the court-appointed folks from Antigua, it's just proved to be impossible given their desire to take control of literally all the foreign assets and bring them back to Antigua."

Marcus Wide is one of two Grant Thornton accountants named as Stanford's liquidators by Antigua.

"At this point, the suggestion from the US receiver is that he doesn't need our help. All he wants to do is to share some information and proceed on that basis. The fact there are large contingency fees out there to be earned may be some part of that problem."

Angela Shaw, founder of the Stanford Victims Coalition, says the fight between the US receiver and the Antiguan liquidator risks consuming whatever funds Stanford left behind.

"This international turf war has cost investors tens of millions of dollars."

Shaw's group is pursuing restitution on other fronts as well. Yesterday, a federal appeals court in Houston gave the green light to a trio of class action suits the group has filed against individuals and companies it claims aided in the Stanford scheme. But the court battles over Stanford's assets could potentially drag on for years. Given the number of investors who are retirees, that's time many of the victims don't have.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Stanford Investor Class Actions Restored by Appeals Court

By Andrew Harris on March 19, 2012

R. Allen Stanford’s aggrieved investors can press state court class-action lawsuits they filed seeking to recover losses in his $7 billion international fraud scheme, a U.S. appeals court ruled.

The New Orleans based panel today reversed a lower-court decision that the claims were barred by a federal law preventing plaintiffs from pursuing state-law claims arising from the purchase or sale of federally regulated securities.

A federal court jury in Houston on March 6 found Stanford guilty of mail and wire fraud in the sale of certificates of deposit issued by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. He is to be sentenced June 14.

The purchase or sale of securities is only “tangentially related” to Stanford’s scheme, the unanimous three-judge panel said, reviving four lawsuits filed against those who sold the CDs and lawyers and an insurer for the Stanford bank.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford and two other top executives in his organization in February 2009, alleging they misled investors about the nature and oversight of the Antiguan bank and the CDs it issued.

He and other executives were indicted on federal charges four months later. Finance chief James Davis pleaded guilty to fraud in August 2009 and testified against Stanford in his six- week trial.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas, who has been overseeing the SEC case and related litigation, took jurisdiction over the investor claims removed from state to federal court.

Lower-Court Ruling

He dismissed them because Stanford advertised the CDs as being backed by regulated securities and some investors sold securities to finance their CD purchases. Those facts put the CD-related suits in the ambit of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act, the judge ruled.

The appeals court disagreed.

“We find that the fact that some of the plaintiffs sold some ‘covered securities’ in order to put their money in the CDs was not more than tangentially related to the fraudulent scheme,” the New Orleans panel said.

The case is Roland v. Green, 11-10932, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

A Message from Our Criminal Government: "We Got to Get Paid"

March 18, 2012, 1:29 pm

On March 6th, Robert Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13
out of 14 counts of fraud.

The jury decision was delivered three years after Stanford defrauded 30,000
investors in 113 countries in a Ponzi scheme involving $7 billion in
fraudulent high-interest certificates at the Stanford International Bank
located in Antigua.

The corporate media has accurately reported Stanford's use of the
fraudulently obtained money (e.g., purchasing mansions, jets, yachts,
million dollar condominiums). However, the corporate controlled media
conspicuously failed to report that much of the stolen money went to bribing
corrupt members of congress on both sides of the aisle as well as their
parent political parties. The illegally obtained money was given to the
likes of Barack Obama, William Nelson, John McCain, John Boehner, Nancy
Pelosi and Harry Reid.

The mainstream media also failed to mention that both the Republican and
Democratic political parties accepted this fraudulently obtained money as
well. The court-appointed receiver tasked with returning the money to
Stanford investors obtained a federal court order last June against five
Democratic and Republican campaigns. Yet, despite the court order, the
leadership of both parties has still not returned the money!
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received nearly a million dollars. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has accepted almost a
quarter of a million dollars of Stanford's ill-gotten gains. The Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee have received almost $200,000 of the stolen
money. The Republican National Committee $130,000, and the National
Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has accepted $83,345." These facts
indict the entire Democratic and Republican apparatus and they are
unquestionably participants in a criminal enterprise system which is
benefitting from the theft of investor monies in the same fashion as did
ex-New Jersey Governor and Goldman Sachs executive, John Corzine, when he
stole tens of millions of dollars from MF Global investors.

IRS says it was ripped off by Stanford too

I have been warning victims for some time now that if money recovered from the Swiss, Canadian and British banks goes to the US receiver the money won't go to the victims, $226 million will go to the IRS and we (The victims) will be lucky to see anything!
The joint liquidators on Antigua (Grant Thornton) have a claims process setup and have pledged to distribute any money they recover to the victims.


Posted Mar 16th 2009 12:45PM by Zac Bissonnette
Filed under: Law, Scandals

If the allegations are to be believed, Robert Allen Stanford ripped off his
investors to the tune of $8 billion and managed to cheat the IRS out of its
cut of his ill-gotten gains as well.

The IRS has asked a judge to allow it to continue its efforts to collect
$226.6 million in back taxes -- and there may be more to come because
Stanford still hasn't filed his 2007 tax return.

Maybe I'm naive in the ways of massive fraud and its tax implications, but
here's what I don't understand: Thousands of investors are in all
probability out billions of dollars because of Mr. Stanford's alleged
conduct. Given that, every penny that the IRS collects from him represents a
penny that won't be available to his victims.
I understand that the IRS has a legal right to pursue whatever money it
feels it is owed, but shouldn't the remains of the Stanford carcass be left
for his victims?

Bloomberg reports that "Investors in R. Allen Stanford's Antiguan bank may
have to get in line behind the Internal Revenue Service as they seek to
recover money from the alleged swindler."

Taxpayer money has already been used to pay bonuses to the AIG executives
who put the company in a position to need a bailout. Given that, shouldn't
we let money that was stolen from innocent investors be used to pay them
back -- instead of stuffing it into the United States treasury?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Allen Stanford Story Doesn't End With The Guilty Verdict

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prominent local attorney, Lee Davis, offered several interesting comments on the Allen Stanford trial and the recent "guilty" verdicts handed down on 13 of 14 charges of criminal conduct. This sordid story does not end with these verdicts, not hardly.

A mere piker compared to Madoff,s roughly $68 billion Ponzi scheme, Stanford and his cronies fleeced investors around the globe for approximately $7 billion.

But far more damage lies beneath the surface of this oil spill of greed and avarice. Where were the federal regulators? Missing in action? Where were the Antiguan authorites? Bought and sold? Numerous complaints and reports given to various federal agencies, the SEC, FINRA and NASD, fell upon blind eyes and deaf ears. In fact, one of FINRA's district directors, Bernerd Young, became managing director of Compliance for the Stanford firm. Leroy King, former director of Antigua's Financial Regulatory Commission, stands indicted on many related charges, but has yet to be extradited.

Many doubt that Baldwin Spencer, Antigua's Prime Minister, will sign the extradition order. His vocal pledges of cooperation are at odds with his inability to act on the matter. As with the Madoff aftermath, various federal agencies are feuding and finger pointing, the victims are struggling to recover lost funds and wondering who, if anyone, cares about their rights and losses. This ain't cricket.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Grant-Thornton Claim Form Follow Up

As a follow up to our latest notice regarding the new interactive claims form, please take note that if you have already submitted your claim using the original version of our Proof of Debt Form which was provided in January 2012, you do not need to repeat this process. The new interactive form is available for use by those creditors/victims who have not yet filed their Proof of Debt claims, or are encountering difficulties with the traditional PDF forms.

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Based on creditors/victims feedback, the Joint Liquidators of Stanford
International Bank released a new interactive claims form today in efforts to make the process for filing a claim more user friendly and efficient. While this form does not change the information that is required to complete the proof of debt form, it does allow for the information to be entered in a more logical manner with the ability to add multiple accounts within the form. Upon entering the data a pdf version of the form is created that must then be printed and signed by all account holders before submitting. To access the forms, please go to:

We have started processing claims in the order in which they have been
received. Claims which require more information or which are clearly incorrect will take longer to process. We recognise that not all creditors/victims have full information to submit a claim based on the net cash method that is being used to calculate claims. If you require copies of any account statements, please send a request signed by all account holders to or by fax to +1 268 480 3725 and we will provide copies of the statements.

As an aside, we note that you may be able to receive immediate cash for your claim from one of a number of fund managers who have expressed interest in buying claims. We will post pertinent contact information on for your consideration. The decision to sell your claim is yours alone. We cannot endorse any of the prospective buyers, nor advise you with respect to the value of your claim, nor advise as to the form, legal, tax or other ramifications of the sale or assignment of your claim.

For more information on the liquidation and the claims process we direct you to

Friday, 9 March 2012

Jurors: 'Difficult process'

By Terri Langford and Lindsay Wise
Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jurors who convicted R. Allen Stanford of fraud agreed early in their
deliberations that he was guilty of all but one of the charges against him,
found the government's star witness credible and felt sympathy for investors who lost millions, they said after completing their seven weeks of duty Thursday.

"The jury returned unanimous verdicts, and we think they speak for
themselves," said foreman John Wojciak. "It was a difficult process. We went through each piece of evidence. I think we worked very hard. We did the best job we could for 12 people."

Earlier this week, the four-woman, eight-man jury convicted the 61-year-old
native Texan of masterminding a $7 billion investor fraud through his bank
in the Caribbean nation of Antigua. On Thursday, the same jury decided that
$330 million located in international bank accounts belonged to Stanford's
investors, clearing the way for the U.S. government to get that money back.

Another juror, accountant David Wright, said the jury would like to have
heard from Stanford, who chose not to testify, but that it wouldn't have
changed the result.

Juror Lendon Hilburn, a retiree, agreed: "I thought overall it was

Bruce Forrest, 47, who heard all the testimony but was dismissed as an
alternate before the start of deliberations, returned to the courthouse to
visit with his former jury colleagues after they completed their work. "The
totality of the information from the government was overwhelming," he said.

Forrest, a Pasadena optician, added that although investors won't get all
their money back, he hoped the verdict will bring them some comfort.

"It was not their fault," he said, adding that he hopes U.S. District Judge
David Hittner sentences Stanford to as much prison time as possible. "I hope he never sees the light of day," Forrest said.

The six weeks of testimony were trying for jurors. But the government's
case, from their view, appeared solid. Still, they said they combed
carefully through boxes of evidence to find Stanford guilty on 13 of 14
fraud related counts.

"We talked about every charge over and over until we got it right," said
juror Michael Madrigal, 39, owner of Mike's Pawn Shop in Houston.

Wright and Forrest found the government's star witness, former Stanford
Financial Chief Financial Officer James Davis, more than credible. Davis,
the financial services empire's No. 2 executive, pleaded guilty for his part in the decades-old scheme, in exchange for his testimony against his boss and former Baylor University roommate.

"I found him believable even though he had made the deal with the
government," Wright said.

Jurors interviewed said that Stanford misled investors who bought
certificates of deposit from the Antiguan bank.

"When you do people wrong like that - and he did it for so long - it was all going to catch up with him," Madrigal said. "And it caught up with him, and he deserves what he got."

Referring to the decision Thursday allowing the government to pursue the
money in bank accounts, Madrigal said, "I'm glad we got every dime we could
from him. ... He still owes them (investors) 7 billion dollars."

Stanford, who could spend the rest of his life in prison on the criminal
conviction, showed no reaction to Thursday's forfeiture verdict - which
involved some accounts that he never controlled but which the jury found
contained money obtained illegally.

Antiguan authorities also are seeking to claim some of the accounts -
proceeds of which eventually could go to pay back some of the millions of
dollars investors lost.

After reading the verdict on the forfeiture issue, U.S. District Judge David Hittner thanked the jurors for service that began Jan. 23, telling them they had "performed admirably." He set Stanford's sentencing for June 14, and said he will hear victim impact statements from investors who lost money.

Stanford's lawyers have said he will appeal the conviction, and defense
attorney Robert Scardino suggested Thursday that one key appeal point might
be the lack of adequate preparation time. Hittner ruled a month before trial that Stanford was competent, after treatment for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight in 2009. His lawyers had argued that he suffered memory loss that limited his ability to aid in his defense.

"Our client spent almost nine months in a mental facility in North Carolina
before the trial," Scardino said. "We had 30 days with a competent client."

Zelaya v. USA Motion to Dismiss

Zelaya v. USA Mot to Dismiss

Stanford Must Forfeit All Funds in Seized Accounts, Houston Jury Decides

By Andrew Harris and Laurel Brubaker Calkins - Mar 8, 2012

R. Allen Stanford, who was convicted of running a $7 billion investment
fraud, must forfeit all funds seized by the U.S. government, a federal jury
in Houston said, finding that the money constituted proceeds of the scheme.

The jury of eight men and four women returned their verdict today in their
second day of deliberations in the forfeiture proceeding, which began less
than three hours after they returned guilty verdicts March 6 on 13 of 14
criminal counts against Stanford, 61.

R. Allen Stanford was convicted of fraud in what prosecutors said was a $7
billion scheme involving bogus certificates of deposit at his Antigua-based
bank. A federal jury in Houston today found the financier guilty of all but
one of the 14 counts against him, including wire and mail fraud and
obstructing a federal regulatory investigation. Stanford, 61, faces as long
as 20 years in prison for each fraud count.

Prosecutors said Stanford defrauded investors who bought certificates of
deposit from his Antigua bank. The jury granted total forfeiture on 29
accounts prosecutors said are worth $330 million.

"We won't say it's what we expected," Ali Fazel, one of Stanford's
attorneys, said after the forfeiture verdict.

Before the decision was announced, Stanford sat with his lawyers at the
defense table, laughing occasionally. As the verdict was read, he looked
over at his mother, Sammie, and his daughter Randi. The two women later left the courthouse carrying the suit and dress shirt Stanford had worn in court.

Stanford was ordered to forfeit money deposited in bank accounts in London,
Zurich, Geneva and elsewhere, which prosecutors said was the product of
criminal activity.

'Proceeds Remain Proceeds'
"Proceeds remain proceeds," Andrew Warren, a federal prosecutor, told the
jury in a closing statement. "It's CD depositor money, money that should be

Stanford was found guilty of lying to investors about the nature and
oversight of the certificates of deposit issued by Antigua-based Stanford
International Bank Ltd. and sold in the U.S. by his Houston-based securities firm, Stanford Group Co.

After a six-week trial, the jury convicted him on four counts of wire fraud
and five counts of mail fraud, each of which carries a top sentence of 20
years in prison. He was also convicted of conspiracy and obstructing a U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission probe. He was found not guilty of one
wire fraud count. U.S. District Judge David Hittner set June 14 for

"The jury returned unanimous verdicts and we think they speak for
themselves," John Wojciak, the jury foreman, said today after the forfeiture trial. "It was a very difficult process."

Boxes of Evidence
The jury examined 10 to 12 boxes of evidence, said Wojciak, an environmental engineer. He refused to answer questions from reporters.

Billie Wade, 69, a retired hairdresser who described herself during jury
selection as "the dumbest person in this room," said Stanford's arrogance
made the biggest impression on her, more than any evidence or testimony.

"His arrogance, every day," she said.

Bruce Forrest, a 47-year-old alternate juror, was dismissed before
deliberations began and returned to the courthouse today. He said
prosecutors presented "overwhelming evidence" of Stanford's guilt.

Forrest said James Davis, Stanford's former finance chief, was the most
compelling witness. Davis, who reached a guilty- plea agreement with the
U.S. in 2009, testified for five days against Stanford.

Forrest said he believed Davis "even though he made that deal with the

Stanford, who didn't testify, maintains his innocence. His defense lawyers
argued that the Stanford organization had enough assets to honor its
commitments until the SEC sued in February 2009 and won a court order
freezing his holdings and appointing a receiver to liquidate them.

'Missed Any Issues'
Robert Scardino, Stanford's other attorney, said he and Fazel will ask the
court to have other lawyers review their work to see if they made any
mistakes or "missed any issues."

Fazel said there are many grounds for appeal.

Stanford, who sustained head injuries in a 2009 inmate assault at a jail in
Houston, developed an addiction to prescription anti-anxiety drugs and spent almost nine months in a federal prison hospital. His lawyers tried to delay the trial, arguing that their client was suicidal and might never
sufficiently recover from the beating to face a jury.

Hittner declared Stanford legally competent and ordered the trial to go

"That will be an issue," Fazel said. "It will be a lengthy appeal."

Allen Stanford will be sentenced June 14, 2012, 10 AM.

Allen Stanford will be sentenced June 14, 2012, 10 AM.

Judge Hitner has invited Victim Impact Statements

Judge Hitner has invited Victim Impact Statements from any victims. If you are a victims and feel that Stanford should get the maximum jail time then please write to Judge Hitner.

Victims should send a Stanford trial impact statement to Judge David Hittner, US Courthouse,
515 Rusk Ave, Room 8509,
Houston, TX 77002

Let's get as many letters out as possible and let's make this sure he never gets out of prison.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

victims' money went to mistress, luxury homes

By Terri Langford
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jurors who convicted R. Allen Stanford of fraud heard Wednesday how $330
million of investors' money went to his international accounts and to help
buy two luxury homes for his mistress.

The jurors are considering a U.S. Justice Department move to go after
foreign bank accounts linked to Stanford. Although the 14-count indictment
against him described the government's intention to seek the forfeitures,
jurors didn't know until they convicted Stanford on 13 counts Tuesday that
they would stay to hear the forfeiture motion.

The jury convicted Stanford of running a $7 billion investment fraud using
certificates of deposit issued by his Stanford International Bank in the
Caribbean nation of Antigua. The CDs were marketed to customers of companies under the umbrella of Houston-based Stanford Financial Group.

After testimony ended Wednesday afternoon in the forfeiture hearing before
U.S. District Judge David Hitter, prosecutors argued that CD funds from
Stanford International Bank ended up in accounts the government wants to
seize. Jurors will deliberate starting Thursday morning.

"There's no doubt, no dispute that the money came from Stanford
International Bank," Justice Department lawyer Andrew Warren told jurors.

The only witness in the hearing was U.S. Postal Inspector Clayton Gerber,
who described how 29 bank accounts contained funds from Stanford clients who invested in Stanford International Bank CDs.

"The entire source of funds were CD depositors' money," Gerber said.

In closing defense arguments, lawyer Ali Fazel zeroed in on Gerber's
testimony that he did not know the origin of the accounts' deposits before
2000, suggesting that some of the funds could have come from other sources
than CD investors.

"They want you to assume these are CD monies, all of it," Fazel told jurors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shut down Stanford's operations
in February 2009, and a court-appointed receiver seized U.S. assets of his
international financial network.

The bank accounts the jury is reviewing now were in other countries.

Gerber's testimony included tracing funds from investors' CDs to the
purchase of two Florida homes for Rebecca Reeves-Stanford, the mother of two of Stanford's six children. Despite the hyphenated name, she and Stanford were not married, and Stanford never has divorced his first wife.

According to previous testimony, CD funds in Stanford International Bank
were transferred to his Swiss bank account. Gerber described a series of
nine transactions starting in 2002 by which $11 million moved from the Swiss account into one of Stanford's JPMorgan Chase accounts in Houston.

From there, more than $1 million was wired to help pay for Reeves-Stanford's luxury home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Three years later, the Boca Raton home was sold and proceeds were used to
buy another home for Reeves-Stanford in Key Biscayne, Fla.

In May 2009, three months after the receiver seized Stanford's U.S. assets,
the Key Biscayne house sold for $2.54 million. Of that, $2.5 million went to a bank in the Cook Islands and into an account called "Baby Mama Trust,"
which listed Reeves-Stanford as the sole beneficiary.

A few months later, about $1.5 million went from there to an Isle of Man
bank account and $1 million to a Swiss bank account.

The government contends that the Baby Mama Trust account and the 28 others
contained CD proceeds taken unlawfully from investors.

Stanford's investor victims eventually could get a share of whatever assets
are recovered through the receivership or forfeiture, although they would
get far less than they lost.

According to trial testimony, much of investors' money went to Stanford's
yachts, beachfront estates and other luxuries, or to pet business operations.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Senator says fund should cover Stanford claims

Credit: Reuters/Donna W. Carson
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON | Wed Mar 7, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senator attacked on Wednesday an industry-backed fund that covers claims for investors of failed brokerages, saying the fund was failing to help people who had been victimized by convicted financier Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Louisiana Senator David Vitter's criticism of Securities Investor Protection Corp (SIPC) came one day after a jury in Texas convicted Stanford of carrying out the elaborate fraud.

Prosecutors had accused Stanford of bilking investors with fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank, his offshore bank in Antigua.

SIPC, whose directors are confirmed by the Senate, has argued that it cannot help Stanford's victims because the bogus certificates of deposit involved in the fraud were issued by Stanford's offshore bank and not by Stanford Group Co, the SIPC-member brokerage based in Texas.

In testimony before a House Financial Services panel, Vitter, a Republican, accused SIPC of ignoring investor protection laws that are designed to protect customer accounts when a brokerage fails.

He criticized SIPC for failing to launch a liquidation process to allow Stanford clients to file claims over their losses.

In a brokerage liquidation, a trustee winds down the business, returns securities and other assets to customers and creditors, and often tries to recover additional assets. The goal is to maximize what customers and creditors recover, and distribute assets fairly.

"I do not think SIPC is focused enough on following the law and executing the law," said Vitter, who said he had heard from dozens of Stanford victims in his home state. "It is far too focused on serving the industry and its member companies and looking after their interests."

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to order SIPC to start a liquidation proceeding in Texas so that investors can begin recovering losses.

SIPC has argued that the law does not cover Stanford victims, and that its power is limited to protecting customers against the loss of missing cash or securities in the custody of failing or insolvent member brokerages.

Stanford's offshore bank falls outside its scope, SIPC says.

"The investors in the Stanford case ... knowingly sent their money away from the brokerage firm to an offshore bank," Stephen Harbeck, SIPC's president and chief executive, told lawmakers on Wednesday. "They were specifically told in writing that SIPC does not protect their investments."

Lawyers for the SEC and SIPC argued the issue at a federal court hearing in Washington on Monday before an audience that included Stanford investors from around the country. The court must now rule on the matter.


The fund has also faced congressional scrutiny over its handling of the estimated $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme engineered by Bernard Madoff, whose victims have been eligible to file claims. But the method used by SIPC and Madoff trustee Irving Picard to calculate claims has been opposed by many investors.

Rather than basing the claims on final account statements, which might be fictitious, Picard has used a "net equity" method, the difference between what investors put in and what they withdrew.

Investors are appealing Picard's methodology to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Frustrated U.S. House lawmakers such as New Jersey's Scott Garrett have drafted bills that would allow investors to rely on their account statements.

"The failures of SIPC in regards to the Madoff liquidation are so fundamental relative to the protections SIPC is supposed to provide to investors," Garrett said.

But Harbeck defended the net equity method and said Garrett's proposed changes to the law would be devastating to many investors.

"To base the payment on the last statement is to allow the fraudulent actor ... the final say on who wins and who loses," Harbeck said.

Stanford Victims Group Wants Life Sentence

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 02:30 Caribarena news Antigua News - Latest

Antigua St John's - Kate Freeman, spokesperson for the Stanford
International Victims Group, said Tuesday's guilty verdict against R Allen
Stanford in a US$7 billion Ponzi scheme is a "good result for the victims,"
and the "first positive thing" in the last three years.

She has now called for the American government to face up to its part in the situation and find ways to help the victims.

Freeman said the 21,000 investors were pleased that a jury considered all
the facts and agreed that the victims were "misled and lied to by Allen

She noted that the American government was aware of the fraud for years, but did nothing to stop it.

"Had they acted sooner, then it would have saved a lot of people a lot of
money," Freeman said. "It would have saved a lot of people from losing their life savings. I'm glad that the jury agreed with the 21,000 victims."

She noted that there was some confusion about how long Stanford could serve
behind bars, with speculation ranging from 20 years overall to 20 years for
each count.

Whatever the situation, Freeman said, "Let's hope he is locked up for the
rest of his life. He deserves it. He sentenced thousands of innocent victims to a life of hardship and poverty.

Most of the people that he stole from were retired people, and they have no
chance of ever recovering the money that they have lost. And they will never recover from what happened to them."

The spokeswoman noted that the next step is for Antigua to "sort out" the
extradition of Leroy King, since "he needs to face his own trial" along with James Davis, Laura Pendergest-Holt, and others.

"They all need to go and face their own trial. And hopefully they'll all be
put away," Freeman said.

In a statement, the Victims Group said Stanford showed no compassion or
consideration for them, and deserves no compassion or mercy from the court
when he is sentenced.

Meanwhile, local attorney Hugh Marshall Jr has said that it is a
"wait-and-see" situation at this point, since sentencing and a forfeiture
proceeding must take place to determine what would be forfeited, aside from
Stanford's bank accounts. This would provide a better perspective on what
will be available for the victims.

Marshall maintained that the first order of business in handling any money
recovered from Stanford's assets would be channeled into operations and the
payment of severance to thousands of employees.

Stanford's conviction does little to ease investors' struggle

By Loren Steffy

As U.S. District Judge David Hittner was about halfway through reading the
jury's verdict - "count seven, mail fraud, guilty; count eight, mail fraud,
guilty" - R. Allen Stanford turned to family members sitting in the
courtroom and mouthed the words "it will be OK."

It's more reassurance than Stanford's 21,000 victims have gotten.

Investors in Stanford's $7 billion fraud waited three years for this day,
when justice was finally served on the man who had cost them what for many
were life savings.

"This has been a long time coming, and it gives all of the victims a small
amount of satisfaction," said Kate Burnell-Freeman, the co-founder of the
Stanford International Victims Group. "He deserves life in prison. He has
sentenced thousands of victims to a life of hardship and poverty, and I just hope that the U.S. courts remember that."

Yet for Burnell-Freeman and the thousands of investors her group represents, the wait goes on. Any comfort from the verdict quickly gives way to the stark reality of their plight. Stanford's conviction does little to help them recover even a smidgen of their investments.

"I would have been happy to see Stanford walk if somebody that same day gave me my money back," said Burnell-Freeman, who lives in Antigua, the Caribbean nation where Stanford had his bank.

The fate of investors remains tied to two protracted court cases.

One involves the arcane rules regarding insurance coverage for U.S.
brokerage clients, who represent about a third of all Stanford investors

The Securities Investor Protection Corp. has argued it shouldn't have to pay for the losses, because even though Stanford's certificates of deposit were sold as securities through a SIPC-member brokerage, they were actually CDs from a foreign bank.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit to force SIPC to pay,
and the matter has been pending before a federal judge in Washington since
late last year.

Jury has work to do

Meanwhile, the Houston jurors who convicted Stanford just before lunch
reconvened Tuesday afternoon to consider whether Stanford must forfeit a
series of bank accounts spread among the U.K., Canada and Switzerland
containing an estimated $330 million.

Spread among all the investors, it's a pittance - investors will be lucky to recover a few pennies on the dollar - but the accounts represent some of the biggest pools of cash found in the three years since the collapse of
Stanford's financial empire.

The conviction ought to allow the money to be recovered for investors. The
problem is those funds also are embroiled in a jurisdictional dispute
between the U.S. Justice Department and Antiguan liquidators for Stanford's

Jurors will resume their consideration of the forfeiture issue today.

Both the U.S. government and the liquidators are attempting to return money
to investors, using different legal processes.

A court-appointed receiver in Dallas, charged with recovering assets for
investors, estimated that as of Oct. 31, including the foreign bank accounts and money that was donated to U.S. politicians that hasn't been returned, no more than about $1 billion could be recovered - less than one-seventh of the value of the fraud.

So far, the receiver hasn't returned anything to investors.

Ravaged hopes, dreams

As is so often the case in investment scams, justice comes far too late to
help those hurt most profoundly by the fraud. Stanford's conviction may
reassure investors that, at least, they weren't crazy. Their money really
was stolen, and Stanford's firm was designed to deceive them. But that
reassurance is overshadowed by the stunning reality that out of the $7
billion, only a few hundred million at best is likely to be returned to

The hard-earned money of thousands became the fuel by which Stanford
propelled himself into the international jet set of swanky cricket tourneys, Caribbean islands, and private planes. The realization that their hard work was wasted on one man's greed is that wound that can't be healed by Tuesday's conviction.

"Without recovery for the Stanford victims there really cannot be any
closure," said Linda Kornswiet, an investor in Blue Bell, Pa. "The sad part
is the thousands of victims who still struggle to pay their bills, lost
their homes and also struggle to pay medical expenses. He has destroyed the
hopes and dreams of thousands of retirees."

For them, as it has for the past three years, the waiting continues.


The Joint Liquidators of Stanford International Bank, Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson, today welcomed the guilty verdict in the trial of Allen Stanford.
"Allen Stanford's actions have hurt thousands of innocent people, some of whom lost their life savings. While a guilty verdict cannot reimburse depositors for the money they lost, they can hopefully gain some comfort from the fact that justice has caught up with the man," said Mr. Dickson.

"Although we have followed the Stanford trial with interest, the trial in Houston pertains to a subject of narrow focus; namely, the personal fate of Mr. Stanford. Our much wider focus, as Joint Liquidators of the Stanford International Bank, is the restitution of funds deposited by investors who became Mr. Stanford's victims," said Mr. Wide. "We are aware that the U.S. Department of Justice has indicated that they will seek the forfeiture of assets following a guilty verdict. However, we would hope that the U.S. Department of Justice will confine those actions to Allen Stanford's assets, and not try and seize the remaining assets of the Stanford International Bank. Taking the assets of the bank and funds that Mr. Stanford did not manage to steal or spend, which would otherwise be available for the benefit of depositors and creditors of the bank, would add insult to injury."

The Joint Liquidators will conduct a webinar later this month for the creditors and depositor victims that will highlight the claims process, progress of the recovery efforts to date and to address questions regarding the claims process that creditors/victims may have about that process.

"Our focus has been, and will remain, to work for a maximum speedy and fair distribution to the depositor creditors and victims," said Mr. Dickson.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Stanford victims `ecstatic' at guilty verdict

Stanford: officially a convicted felon (AP) Investors who lost money through R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion international financial scheme expressed relief at today's jury verdict finding the former Caribbean financier guilty on 13 of 14 criminal counts.

Jurors appeared to be struggling to reach a verdict Monday, but U.S.
District Judge David Hittner urged them to keep trying. The decision was reached just before lunch today.

Stanford showed little reaction as the verdict was read, but at one point turned in the direction of his mother and mouthed the word's "it will be OK."

Meanwhile, the more than 22,000 investors worldwide who lost money in Stanford's Ponzi scheme welcomed the verdict. Here are some of their

I'm absolutely ecstatic. This has been a long time coming, and it gives all of the victims a small amount of satisfaction. He deserves life in prison.
He has sentenced thousands of victims to a life of hardship and poverty, and I just hope that the U.S. courts remember that.

- Kate Burnell-Freeman of Antigua, co-founder of the Stanford International Victims Group

I feel relieved and happy. There is justice in this world. This man ruined thousands of lives by stealing retirement funds that we all worked very hard for. He lied to us and spent our money on his lavish lifestyle. My family and I have suffered through a nightmare of [going from] being financially sound to broke.

- Joseph Becker

Stanford Found Guilty

Stanford Found Guilty on all counts save for count 2, wire fraud.

Jury struggle to find verdict in Allen Stanford case

The judge in the fraud trial of wealthy cricket mogul Allen Stanford ordered the jury back to deliberations after they told him they could not reach a unanimous verdict Stanford faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of 14 counts of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction.

Prosecutors alleged that he used "his depositors' money as his personal piggy bank," accusing Stanford of buying up regulators and bank examiners to keep his 20-year-long fraud going.

The 61-year-old has pleaded not guilty to bilking some $7 billion from 30,000 investors from more than 100 countries through bogus investments with Stanford International Bank.

After four days of deliberations, the jury in his trial on Monday wrote to judge David Hittner to say they were unable to reach an unanimous verdict.
It was unclear from the note how many counts were in contention.

The flamboyant Texan ex-tycoon has spent the past three years in jail after being deemed a flight risk shortly after his February 2009 arrest.

Stanford, a long-time resident of Antigua, came to cricket prominence when he announced he was putting $28 million into funding a Caribbean-wide Twenty20 tournament in 2005.

Hittner called the jury back into the courtroom and reminded them that the trial had been expensive in terms of time, money and effort, and encouraged them to try to reach a verdict.

He delivered a legal message, the so-called "Allen charge," a last-ditch bid to avoid a hung jury which in the US legal system would lead to a mistrial.

"There is no reason to believe this case can be tried better or more exhaustively than it has already been tried before you," Hittner said.

"Those of you who believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the government has proven its case and the defendant is guilty should ask yourselves if the evidence presented is really convincing enough to convict."

"Those of you who do not believe the government has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt should ask yourselves if the doubt you have is reasonable given that other members of the jury do not share your doubt," the judge continued.

"It is your duty to return a verdict if you can. Be as leisurely in your deliberations as you choose. Now please return to deliberating."

Earlier in the day, the jury sent out two questions in an apparent attempt to clarify evidence on charges relating to gifts Stanford allegedly gave to an Antiguan bank regulator The jury were set to resume their deliberations early Tuesday. (AFP)

The Jury cannot reach a unanimous decision!

The Jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, Judge is calling for an "Allen Charge". (Allen Charge = jury told to go back and whoever does not agree asked to reconsider again to prevent a mistrial) Judge is working out the wording he will give to Jury.

Jury went home at 5pm and are back tomorrow to see if they can reach agreement. If not then I guess it will be a mistrial and we will have to go through it all over again.

The difference hopefully will be that if we do have to have another trial then next time the prosecution will present a better case than it did this time. Someone ought to suggest that they bring the Whistle-blowers in to give evidence, as well as putting a few more victims up there to spell it out to the Jury that we were lied to, misled, given false information and shown false documents.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Stanford Indictment

Just to remind everyone what they are seeking a verdict on, here is the indictment made against Stanford.
If you read through the charges it would seem almost impossible that he could be found not guilty on any of them.


Stanford Indictment

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fate of financier Stanford in jury's hands

The Associated Press
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

HOUSTON - The fate of Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford - accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme that took billions from investors - rests in the hands of the Houston jury, as prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments in the financier's fraud trial Wednesday.

During closing arguments, prosecutors said Stanford flushed away billions of investor funds on a "lavish lifestyle and his loser companies" as part of a fraud that spanned two decades. Defense attorneys countered, saying no evidence was presented that showed the financier cheated anyone. They contended Stanford made money for his investors and created more than 5,000 jobs through a legitimate, worldwide business empire.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours Wednesday. They were set to resume on Thursday.

Stanford, who has been jailed without bond since being indicted in 2009, is on trial for 14 counts, including mail and wire fraud. If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. The financier's trial began Jan. 23.

Prosecutor William Stellmach told the jury on Wednesday that Stanford, 61, lined his pockets "with billions of dollars of other people's money." He said that Stanford for years lied to investors who bought certificates of deposit, or CDs, from his bank on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua, telling them it was a safe investment.

Prosecutor Gregg Costa called Stanford a thief and compared him to Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

"Don't let him pull one last con job," Costa said.

Stanford's attorneys, Ali Fazel and Robert Scardino, told jurors Wednesday "there's no doubt" he made money for people who bought his bank's CDs. They also said that until the financier's businesses were seized by authorities, he paid investors "every penny of their money."

Scardino accused prosecutors of targeting Stanford because he was rich and told jurors that investors were warned they could lose all their money.

"The government wants you to believe it was all a fraud. That's just not what happened," he said.

During closing arguments, Stellmach said depositors were never told their investments paid for a string of failed businesses that lost millions. Nor were investors told their money funded his extravagant lifestyle, which included yachts and private jets, he said.

"The bank was his own personal ATM," Stellmach said.

Stellmach said that by 2008, the bank owed depositors over $7 billion that it did not have and Stanford was responsible for the massive debt.

The prosecutor said Stanford covered up the massive fraud by falsely telling depositors their money was protected by an insurance policy and that the bank had been given a clean bill of financial health through reviews from an outside auditor and Antiguan regulators. Stellmach told jurors that both the auditor and regulators were bribed with millions from a secret Swiss bank account.

"A real audit would have discovered this fraud in about five minutes," he said.

Over a three-week period, federal prosecutors methodically presented their case - including testimony from ex-workers of Stanford's companies as well as emails, financial statements and other documents they allege showed the financier bilked investors out of more than $7 billion.

The prosecution's star witness, James M. Davis, the ex-chief financial officer of Stanford's companies, told jurors he and Stanford faked the bank's profits and used CD deposits to bribe the auditor and regulators.

Defense attorneys argued that Stanford was a savvy businessman whose business empire, headquartered in Houston, was legitimate. They blamed Davis for the alleged fraud, and said he lied to get a reduced sentence. Davis has pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Stanford's attorneys, who spent about nine days presenting their case, did not put the businessman on the witness stand. Stanford had apparently wanted to testify but was convinced not to do so.

Stanford was once considered among the wealthiest people in the U.S. with an estimated net worth of more than $2 billion. But at his trial, he had court-appointed attorneys because his assets have been seized by authorities.

If jurors come back with a verdict after 2 p.m. Thursday or anytime Friday, the decision won't be announced until Monday because U.S. District Judge David Hittner has a prior engagement. Jurors can still deliberate on those days, and a magistrate judge will be available to answer questions.

The federal judge also said that if the jury returns a guilty verdict on any count, a shorter, civil trial related to 31 U.S. properties that authorities want to seize from Stanford would immediately follow with the same jury.