Freitag, 26. April 2013

Allen Stanford Told to Disgorge $6.7 Billion in SEC Case

April 26, 2013
By Andrew Harris
R. Allen Stanford, the Texas financier convicted last year of leading an investment fraud scheme, was ordered to disgorge more than $6.7 billion by the judge in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas issued the order yesterday against Stanford, his Stanford Group Co. and the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.

The order may clear the way for Godbey to grant a court- appointed receiver's request to make an interim $55 million payout to investors who lost money after buying certificates of deposit issued by the Stanford Bank.

"The fraud perpetrated was obviously egregious, was done with a high degree of scienter, caused billions in losses and occurred over the course of a decade," Godbey said, using the legal term to describe the mental state of intent to deceive.

A federal jury in Houston convicted Stanford of lying to investors about how their money was being handled.

"The truth is that he flushed it away," Justice Department lawyer William Stellmach told jurors in his closing arguments at the March 2012 trial. "He told depositors he was using their money in one way and the truth was completely different."

Stanford, 63, was sentenced to 110 years in prison. Maintaining his innocence, he has appealed the verdict.

Parallel Judgment

Godbey referred to the jury's guilty finding in granting the SEC's request he render a parallel judgment in their case filed in February 2009, four months before the financier was indicted. The judge also cited the August 2009 guilty plea by Stanford Group Chief Financial Officer James Davis.

"The court finds that $5.9 billion is a reasonable approximation of the gains connected to Stanford's fraud," Godbey said of the sum he would order disgorged. He then added more than $861 million in interest for a total of $6.76 billion. Davis too is jointly liable.

Finally the judge imposed a $5.9 billion penalty on Stanford and a $5 million assessment against Davis, who received a five-year prison sentence.

The court-appointed receiver, Ralph Janvey, asked Godbey this month for permission to begin repaying some of the losses incurred by the more than 17,000 claimants. At an April 11 hearing, the judge told Janvey's lawyer, Kevin Sadler, he was concerned about doing so before a final order had been entered against Stanford.

Societe Generale

In a separate filing today, a group of Stanford investors asked Godbey to grant them a judgment of at least $95 million in a lawsuit against a unit of Paris-based Societe Generale SA. (GLE)

The lender's Societe Generale Private Banking (Suisse) unit took the money from a Stanford bank account with his permission in December 2008 to repay a loan made to him four years earlier, according to court papers.

The financier had caused a business funded by Stanford investor-depositor money to guarantee the loan in 2007, the investors alleged, while those depositors received no benefit. The transfer of that money to Societe Generale just two months before the SEC sued Stanford and shut down his businesses was a fraudulent transfer, the investors claimed in today's filing.

Ken Hagan and Jim Galvin, New York-based spokesman for the French bank, did not immediately reply to voicemail messages seeking comment on the allegations.

Slush Fund

Davis, the CFO, testified at Stanford's trial that the financier maintained a Societe Generale Swiss bank account, funded by investor deposits.

"It was a slush fund, just used for whatever the holder wanted to use it for," Davis said during the Houston federal court trial in February 2012.

The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank, 09-cv-00298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas). The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09-cr-00342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

The investors' case is Rotstain v. Trustmark National Bank, 09-cv-02384, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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Donnerstag, 25. April 2013

SEC Order Against Stanford

April 25, 2013
By U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey
Securities and Exchange Commission, Plaintiff, vs. Stanford International Bank LTD., et al. Defendants. Civil Action No. 3:09-CV-0298-N

This Order addresses Plaintiff Security and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") motion for partial summary judgment [1779]. The Court grants the motion. The Court also denies Defendant R. Allen Stanford's motion for extension of time [1807].

The Court grants the SEC's motion for summary judgment. The Court enjoins Stanford from violating the Exchange Act § 10(b), Rule 10b-5, the Securities Act § 17(a), and the Advisers Act § 206(1) and (2), enjoins Davis violating the Exchange Act § 10(b), Rule 10b-5, the Securities Act § 17(a), and enjoins SGC and SIB from violating the Exchange Act § 10(b), Rule 10b-5, the Securities Act § 17(a), the Advisers Act § 206(1) and (2), and the Investment Company Act § 7(d). The Court finds Stanford, Davis, SGC, and SIB jointly and severally liable to disgorge the $5.9 billion fraudulently acquired by Stanford's scheme. The Court adds $861,189,969.06 of prejudgment interest to this total, for a total disgorgement liability of $6,761,189,969.06. Finally, the Court imposes a civil penalty of $5.9 billion on Stanford and $5 million on Davis.

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Montag, 22. April 2013

Louisiana officials want release of SEC report in Stanford case

April 22, 2013
A Louisiana senator told officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday that he wants immediate release of a year-old report by the commission's inspector general on efforts to recover money for victims of a multibillion-dollar fraud.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., described as incompetent efforts by a court-appointed receiver to find and distribute assets of convicted con man Robert Allen Stanford.

Stanford, 63, of Houston, is serving a 110-year prison sentence for a fraud conviction that followed estimated worldwide losses of approximately $7 billion. About $1 billion of those losses were from about 1,000 investors in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Covington areas, according to estimates by state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, and Baton Rouge attorney Phillip W. Preis.

"The fraud caused an absolute tragedy for many Louisiana families who invested their hard-earned retirement savings in good faith that it would be there for them when they retired," Vitter said Friday in a letter to Mary Jo White, who chairs the SEC.

Vitter said the receiver in the case, Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey, spent $100 million to collect $55 million for Stanford's victims.

"In the best light, Janvey's actions can only be seen as incompetent," Vitter told White in that letter. He urged White to release the SEC inspector general's report on Janvey, noting that it was completed in March 2012.

There are more than 20,000 Stanford victims across more than 100 countries.

A retired Zachary couple, Louis and Kathy Mier, saw $240,000 of their savings stolen by Stanford's fraudulent scheme.

"Whatever any of our congressmen do to shed light on the truth of what happened, and whatever they can do to help us get our money back and be whole again, would make Louis and me very, very happy," Kathy Mier said Friday.

John J. Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, said in an email Friday that neither he nor other SEC officials would comment on Vitter's request before White issues a response to the senator's letter.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., released a statement through her staff: "The Stanford victims deserve answers, and the immediate release of the IG's report is the very least the SEC can do."

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R.-Baton Rouge, said through his staff: "I strongly urge the SEC … to release the full results of the inspector general's report. The victims of this crime were hard working Louisiana families, and they are entitled to see the details of the report."

Vitter noted that Janvey, against the SEC's wishes, unsuccessfully sued some Stanford victims in an effort to seize money those victims retrieved before Stanford's operations were shut down in February 2009.

"Given the demonstrated incompetence of the court-appointed receiver, it makes you wonder how bad this (inspector general's) report gets," Vitter added. "The Stanford victims deserve to see."

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Freitag, 12. April 2013

SEC Can't Force Help For Stanford Victims, DC Circ. Told

April 12, 2013
By Counsel for Appellee SIPC
The Securities Investor Protection Corp. asked the D.C. Circuit on Monday to affirm a landmark district court ruling declaring it doesn't owe compensation to victims of Robert Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme, suggesting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission succumbed to political pressure in bringing the suit.

The SIPC asked the appeals court to affirm U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins' decision dismissing the agency's application to compel the SIPC to pay the fraud victims' claims through a liquidation proceeding.

A top agency official had originally agreed that the SIPC did not owe funds under the Securities Investor Protection Act, SIPC claims, but that changed after U.S. Senator David Vitter, R-La., threatened to block the nominations of two SEC officials in June 2011, the SIPC said.

"The record shows that the SEC's general counsel agreed that SIPA did not apply to the Stanford case," the SIPC said. "It was only two years later that the SEC sought to force SIPC's hand, apparently bowing to pressure from a U.S. senator," referencing a June 14, 2011, press release from Vitter.

The corporation, funded by the brokerage industry to cover investors who lose money in failing firms, also claims the SEC didn't seek a liquidation until two years after its 2009 case against Stanford.

"If the SEC had thought the Stanford fraud was within the scope of what SIPA protects, it was under a legal obligation to notify SIPC immediately," the SIPC said. "The SEC did not do so, even though it filed an enforcement action against Stanford and secured the appointment of a receiver over U.S. Stanford assets in February 2009."

On July 3, Judge Wilkins ruled that Stanford's U.S.-based Stanford Group Co. was a member of the SIPC, but that the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank was not. Stanford International Bank Ltd. was an offshore bank, not a registered broker-dealer, which is what the SIPC oversees, Judge Wilkins said.

Judge Wilkins' decision was a major blow to victims of the Ponzi scheme, who together lost upwards of $7 billion in certificates of deposit administered by Stanford International Bank. It also carried broader legal significance, marking the first time since the enactment of SIPA 42 years ago that a federal court had ruled on how much power the SEC has to command a SIPC liquidation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that brokerage customers cannot force such proceedings, but that the SEC has the authority to do so.

Because of its precedential nature, a key issue in the Stanford dispute was the standard of proof required of the SEC. The agency argued for a more lenient standard than the SIPC did, describing its burden as merely probable cause supported by hearsay. Judge Wilkins ultimately chose the higher standard requested by the SIPC: a preponderance of the evidence. In an SIPC liquidation, an investor must meet a preponderance standard to prove the validity of his or her claim.

In its appellate brief filed in January, the SEC said Judge Wilkins had taken a too-narrow view of the term "customer." The agency argued that transactions with both Stanford entities should be treated the same way under SIPA because the company operated "as a single fraudulent enterprise that ignored corporate boundaries."

"This interpretation of the statute to allow for flexibility in certain circumstances is the correct one, and it is at least a reasonable one that was entitled to deference by the district court," the SEC said.

The SEC added that it was not seeking customer status for all Stanford investors, but only for those who held accounts with Stanford Group Co., purchased fraudulent certificates of deposit through SGC and deposited funds with Stanford International Bank Ltd.

But SIPC said Monday that the terms of its mission were clear: to protect investors when a member brokerage fails, adding that Judge Wilkins' purportedly narrow view of the term 'customer' was appropriate.

"By its terms, the statute does not insure against fraud or investment losses, instead protecting only the 'customer' property that an SIPC-'member' brokerage firm holds in custody when the brokerage fails," the corporation added.

The corporation also said the SEC's case was unprecedented because it has not made similar requests in proceedings related to the downfall of a major financial institution.

"In 40 years and over 300 liquidation proceedings — including the recent liquidations ofLehman Brothers Inc., Madoff Investment Securities LLC, and MF Global Inc. — this is the first the the SEC had ever tried to compel a liquidation."

Stanford was sentenced in June to 110 years in prison for his role in the fraud.

SIPC is represented by Edwin John U, Eugene F. Assaf Jr., John C. O'Quinn, Michael W. McConnell and Elizabeth M. Locke of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

The case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Securities Investor Protection Corp., case number 12-5286, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Montag, 1. April 2013


April 1, 2013
By Ailis Aaron Wolf
Madoff Trustee's Third Distribution Sends Approximately $506.2 Million to Customers With Allowed Claims.

With the distribution of approximately $506.2 million to victims in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), a total of $5.44 billion will now have been distributed to BLMIS customers with allowed claims. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) today applauded the hard work of Trustee Irving H. Picard and his attorneys in their continued efforts to recover and return funds to BLMIS customers.

When combined with the funds already returned to BLMIS customers from the Customer Fund and advances from SIPC, more than 50 percent of the total Madoff accounts with allowed claims will be fully satisfied following the third interim pro rata distribution. A total of 1,106 accounts will be fully satisfied following the third interim distribution out of a total of 2,178 accounts with allowed claims.

Since December 2008, $9.32 billion has either been recovered or agreements reached to recover funds to return to BLMIS customers. This amount is more than 53 percent of the approximately $17.5 billion in principal estimated to have been lost by BLMIS customers who filed allowed claims. The Trustee's recovery of more than $9.32 billion has been made possible through advances provided by SIPC, which is funded by the securities industry. To date, SIPC has committed approximately $807 million to pay customer claims and over $718 million to fund the liquidation proceeding. No monies recovered by the Trustee have been used to pay any administrative expenses. All recoveries made by the Trustee benefit customers.

SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said: "Thanks to the significant Tremont Funds settlement, which allocated more than $1 billion to the BLMIS Customer Fund, and additional funds recovered by Trustee Picard and his team since last fall, additional distributions continue to be made in an effort to fully satisfy as many BLMIS allowed claims as possible. We applaud the hard work Trustee Picard has undertaken to recover monies and distribute them to customers at the failed BLMIS brokerage. His successful efforts have resulted in the ability to fully satisfy more than half of the BLMIS accounts with allowed claims, a significant achievement. SIPC is pleased to continue to facilitate the work of the Trustee to make possible the maximum recovery and return of funds to customers."


The Securities Investor Protection Corporation is the U.S. investor's first line of defense in the event of the failure of a brokerage firm owing customers cash and securities that are missing from customer accounts. SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds.

The statute that created SIPC provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities - such as stocks or bonds -- that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims for customer cash and/or securities held in custody with the broker for up to a maximum of $500,000 per customer. This figure includes a maximum of $250,000 on claims for cash. From the time Congress created it in 1970 through December 2011, SIPC has advanced $ 1.8 billion in order to make possible the recovery of $ 117.5 billion in assets for an estimated 767,000 investors.

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