Allen Stanford, the flamboyant 59-year-old billionaire CEO of the Stanford Group Companies was indicted Fridayon charges of conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud. Six other individuals were also indicted, including the chief banking regulator of Antigua.
One day after Stanford surrendered to the FBI in Fredericksburg VA, a U.S. federal grand jury handed down two indictments naming eight individuals involved in the alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Stanford, who is being represented by Dick DeGuerin, a prominent Houston defense attorney, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges of fraud.
The first indictment—a 57-page document that contains 21 counts—was filed in Houston and named six individuals: Allen Stanford (CEO), Laura Pendergest-Holt (the CIO) Gilbert Lopez (the chief accounting officer), Mark Kuhrt (Stanford’s global controller) and Leroy King, a former executive in Antiguan’s financial services regulatory commission. The second indictment, filed in Miami, named Bruce Perraud, who was employed as “global security specialist” for Stanford in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as James Davis, the company’s CFO.
The indictment alleges that Leroy King, a former CEO of the Antiguan regulatory authority, was paid more than $100,000 to make sure that Antiguan regulators looked the other way, and to facilitate sham audits and examinations of the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank (SIB).
In February, the SEC shut down Stanford’s companies, freezing his assets and filing civil fraud charges against him and two other senior executives, CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt and CFO James Davis, for perpetrating a massive Ponzi scheme. Stanford allegedly sold more than $8 billion worth of off-shore certificates of deposit issued by SIB to wealthy American investors through a network of financial advisors spread across the United States. The investments promised high returns and safety of principal. Instead, the SEC is alleging Stanford and the other executives invested the money in highly risky ventures, including speculative real estate ventures, and that returns paid to clients were the result of new monies from new clients. Stanford also allegedly diverted as much as $2 billion into his personal accounts.
Court appointed receiver Ralph Janvey sued 66 former Stanford financial advisors in late April, seeking to recover more than $40 million in commissions from the sale of the CDs to clients.
As of June 17, the receiver had $75 million in readily available cash and is fighting for control of $350 million in Stanford accounts in Switzerland, Canada and the U.K., as well as “potential claw-back claims against more than $200 million” still frozen in Stanford client accounts in the U.S. and abroad, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the SEC is haggling with Janvey over his legal fees. Janvey submitted a $20 million bill to regulators recently for the first 2 months of his investigation in the case. He has since lowered it to $15 million, but the SEC wants another 20 percent discount according to reports.