Sun | Jan 29, 2023

US seeks hearing into Ponzi scheme

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Allen Stanford ... faces up to 250 years in prison if convicted.


A group of ten United States Congressmen from seven states have asked House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to hold a Congressional hearing to investigate the government of Antigua and Barbuda's role in the $7.2-billion Stanford Financial Group Ponzi scheme and determine if international treaties have been violated.

Eighteen US Representatives from nine states have recently joined House Resolution 507 expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the "Government of Antigua and Barbuda has committed numerous acts against the interests of United States citizens and operated the financial sector and judicial system of Antigua and Barbuda in a manner that is manifestly contrary to the public policy of the United States."

Led by Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), the Resolution was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. The letter sent to Chairman Ros-Lehtinen today seeks a joint hearing of both subcommittees, and urges a prompt response as the actions cited in the letter 'continue to harm' the constituents of the Resolution co-sponsors.

While the Resolution focuses primarily on the actions of the government of Antigua and Barbuda to challenge the authority of the US District Court and the Department of Justice in the aftermath of the Stanford Financial Group fraud, it also cites the illegal expropriation of US citizen-owned Half Moon Bay.

"We are especially alarmed the Stanford case is not the first instance in which the government of Antigua and Barbuda has illegally seized assets belonging to US citizens," the letter states. "The 2007 expropriation of Half Moon Bay, owned by 12 US citizens, was recently cited in the Ninth Report to Congress on the Operation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (December 31, 2011). In that report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative specifically referenced the government of Antigua and Barbuda's failure to meet the requirements specified in the United States Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act."

guilty of 13 of 14 criminal counts

A jury in Houston, Texas recently found Allen Stanford guilty of 13 of 14 criminal counts alleged by the US Department of Justice, and subsequently approved the forfeiture of $330 million currently held in Stanford-owned bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada.

Joint Liquidators appointed first by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and then by the High Court of Antigua have litigated in foreign jurisdictions to gain control of the proceeds of the forfeited bank accounts.

"The three-year international turf war waged by the Antiguan Joint Liquidators has cost Stanford victims tens of millions of dollars that would have otherwise been available for their recovery," said Peter D. Morgenstern, an attorney representing hundreds of Stanford victims. "Continued litigation by Joint Liquidators Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson of Grant Thornton-for no reason other than to enrich themselves at the expense of Stanford victims-could keep the forfeited funds from Stanford victims for years."

"The government of Antigua and Barbuda acted as Allen Stanford's business partner, and allowed him to operate above the law for two decades as he stole from thousands of innocent investors from around the world," said Angela Shaw, the Director and Founder of the Stanford Victims Coalition. "Instead of taking steps to cooperate with the U.S. government and the U.S. District Court-appointed Receiver to help Stanford victims recover their losses, the government of Antigua and Barbuda looked out for itselfÑseizing assets that were funded by Stanford investors, and defaulting on loans made with stolen funds. Under no circumstances should such a country receive U.S. taxpayer funds.