Case #1: Stanford Financial
R. Allen Stanford is accused of pulling off a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors. Prosecutors allege that Stanford lured investors to purchase Certificate of Deposits with returns that were consistently higher than the market and used the proceeds to finance his lavish lifestyle. Stanford currently faces 14 criminal charges, including wire and mail fraud, in addition to civil suit from the SEC. Adding to the case are charges against a former Antiguan official who has allegedly taken bribes from Stanford and his companies, a lawsuit against insurance group Lloyds of London by Allen Stanford, and a lawsuit by investors against Stanford’s auditing firm BDO. Despite the fact that his Chief Financial Officer testified against him in a plea bargain agreement, Stanford pleads not guilty to all charges. Adding drama to this high profile case, Stanford required medical treatment after getting beaten in prison and claims to have developed amnesia. The Stanford International Bank offered returns that were consistently double digits on its CDs. In their pitch to investors, SIB employees claimed it was due to smart portfolio management and investment in safe, liquid securities. SIB also claimed that a team of 20 talented analysts manage the portfolios carefully. However, the SEC claims that this is all false. In its complaint filed in February 2009, the SEC described Stanford’s operation as a “massive ponzi scheme.” The CDs were not reinvested in liquid securities – SIB’s portfolio mainly consisted of illiquid assets like real estate. The value of these assets was grossly overstated to pad the company’s financial reports. SIB offered returns based on fabricated performance data and claiming as historical data and portfolio management was done solely by Stanford and the CFO, James Davis. In addition, Stanford misappropriated more than $1 billion of investors’ funds. The money went to a fleet of yachts and...
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