Allen Stanford Arrested By FBI After Indictment

Posted: Friday, June 19, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , , , ,

R. Allen Stanford, under investigation in an alleged $8 billion fraud involving sales of certificates of deposit through his Antiguan bank, surrendered to federal agents and was taken into custody, his lawyer said.

Stanford, 59, surrendered yesterday to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who were waiting outside his girlfriend’s house in Fredericksburg, Virginia, said
Dick DeGuerin, a lawyer for the Texas financier.

Stanford, a one time sponser for the Fox News Channels Sean Hannity and his radio program. At one point, Hannity was actually reading radio ads for Stanford and soliciting his own listeners to invest money into Stanford Coin & Bullion. It's still not known if any of more then 30,000 defrauded investors sustained losses via the Coin & Bullion entity.

"Federal agents in black SUVs surrounded his girlfriend’s house this afternoon, and just sat there," DeGuerin said in a phone interview. "I told him to walk out and introduce himself. So he did, and he asked them, ‘If you’ve got a warrant, take me into custody. If you don’t, I’m going to Houston.’ And they did, so they arrested him."
DeGuerin said he didn’t know when Stanford would be arraigned or whether he would be returned to Houston to face charges that haven’t yet been made public.
Stanford is scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond today for indictment on fraud charges, the Associated Press reported, citing unidentified law enforcement officials.
Gilbert Lopez, chief accounting officer at Stanford Group Co., was arrested in Houston this morning and will be arraigned later today, said his lawyer,
Dan Cogdell. New criminal charges also were filed against Laura Pendergest-Holt, 35, Stanford Group Co.’s chief investment officer, according to Cogdell.
Surrender Next Week
"She will surrender to a summons in Houston some day next week," he said yesterday in a phone interview.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford, Pendergest-Holt and a business associate in February, accusing them of running an $8 billion fraud through Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa, a lead prosecutor on the Stanford case, and FBI agent Vanessa Walther spent the afternoon meeting with a grand jury in the Houston federal courthouse. Grand jury deliberations are closed, and no details of the proceedings were made public.
U.S. Magistrate Judge
Frances Stacy in Houston yesterday said two sealed indictments would be handed up by the grand jury and then closed her courtroom to receive them. Prosecutors and FBI agents involved in the Stanford investigation remained in the courtroom.
Grand Jury
Costa declined to say whether the grand jury was the one investigating Stanford and his businesses.
Ian McCaleb, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the grand jury proceedings and didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Stanford’s arrest and details on when he will be arraigned.
The Stanford Group Co. sold $8 billion of certificates of deposit in Stanford International Bank. The company’s network of financial advisers told clients their money would be placed primarily in easily sold financial instruments monitored by more than 20 analysts and audited by Antiguan regulators, according to the SEC lawsuit.
Instead, the "vast majority" of the portfolio was managed by Stanford and
James M. Davis, the company’s chief financial officer, who invested much of it in private equity and real estate, according to the regulatory agency. Davis, who was named in the SEC suit, is cooperating with prosecutors, his lawyer, David Finn, said in April.
Stanford International Bank touted "improbable, if not impossible" returns, the SEC said then in its complaint.
Obstruction Charge
Pendergest-Holt was arrested by FBI agents on Feb 26 and was charged with obstructing the SEC’s probe by making misrepresentations to its representatives while under oath.
On May 14 she entered a plea of not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge
Mary Milloy in Houston. The judge set a trial date of July 20 before U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore.
Stanford has said he did nothing wrong. "I’m not a damn swindler," he told Bloomberg News in April.
The Mexia, Texas, native, who was knighted by the government of Antigua and Barbuda in 2006, has publicly asserted his constitutional right against self-incrimination and refused to testify or provide documents to federal investigators.
Ranked by Forbes Magazine’s last year as the 605th richest person in the world, Stanford had an estimated net worth of at least $2 billion, according to a March 2008 filing in a Florida paternity case brought by a mother of two children.
U.S. District Judge
David Godbey, who is presiding over the SEC case in Dallas, in February froze the assets of the Stanford companies and those belonging to Stanford, Davis and Pendergest- Holt.
Lawmakers’ Probe
Also yesterday, 16 members of Congress asked the SEC to release all documents in the Stanford probe. In a letter to SEC Chairman
Mary Schapiro, they requested internal memos and information the agency received discussing potential wrongdoing by Stanford and his associates.
The lawmakers also called for an audit of all expenses incurred by Dallas lawyer
Ralph Janvey in his role as the receiver appointed to recover funds for Stanford’s clients.
The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank, 09cv298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).