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Thief who steals thief has one hundred years of pardon.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The District Court Rules in Favor of the Receiver in His Claim to Recover Net Winnings Paid to Stanford "Net Winner" Investors

January 23, 2013
By U.S. Receiver (Ralph Janvey)
On January 23, 2013, the District Court entered a summary judgment order in favor of the Receiver finding that the Receiver is entitled to recover from Stanford investors any funds they were paid in excess of the principal they deposited in the Stanford fraud scheme. The Court ruled that the net winner investors' contracts with Stanford are void and unenforceable and that the investors did not provide value for amounts they received from Stanford in excess of the amounts they deposited. As a result, the Court held that that allowing the net winner investors "to keep their fraudulent above-market returns in addition to their principal would simply further victimize the true Stanford victims, whose money paid the fraudulent interest." Although the District Court's order is not a final judgment, the District Court certified the order for appeal, which means that it will likely be appealed in the near future to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The Receiver is pleased with the Court's ruling today that those investors who profited from the Stanford ponzi scheme do not have the right to retain those profits. This decision represents an important milestone in the very long and difficult process of unwinding the massive Stanford ponzi scheme. In his ruling, Judge Godbey agreed with the Receiver's position that the fictitious interest payments that Stanford made to investors on their Stanford International Bank certificates of deposit simply represented money taken from one set of investors and paid to another; it was just part of Stanford's efforts that kept the ponzi scheme going for well over a decade.

Based on his investigation, the Receiver identified over $220 million in net winnings or fictitious interest that was paid to over 800 investors. The Receiver intends to use this ruling to pursue recovery of these funds for the benefit of the thousands of investors who sustained significant losses on their Stanford CDs. Once recovered, these funds can be distributed to the victims of the Stanford fraud, which would be in addition to the $55 million that the Receiver has already proposed for distribution.

The Receiver is continuing to pursue recovery through litigation of other funds that can be distributed to victims, and he continues to work cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Antiguan-appointed Liquidators to reach a final agreement to make available for distribution approximately $300 million in funds and assets currently frozen in foreign countries.

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For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the SIVG official forum          

SEC, SIPC to argue in court over Stanford claims

Securities regulators are due in court on Tuesday to argue that a brokerage industry-backed protection fund should let thousands of victims of Allen Stanford's alleged Ponzi scheme file claims for compensation.
The Securities Investor Protection Corp, which has handled liquidation proceedings for Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme and the MF Global failure, has said the 40-year-old Securities Investor Protection law does not apply in the Stanford case.
The unprecedented legal face-off between SIPC and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could have far-reaching consequences for how investors are compensated if their brokerage firm fails.
Stanford, 61, was arrested in 2009 over charges that he ran a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme linked to certificates of deposit issued by his Antigua-based bank.
Tuesday's hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will come just a day after Stanford's criminal trial gets under way in another federal court in Texas.
The SEC asked the District of Columbia court in December to uphold its authority to order SIPC to help Stanford's victims after negotiations between the two entities had failed. It is unclear how soon Judge Robert Wilkins could rule.
SIPC is standing by its decision not to intervene on behalf of Stanford investors and has created a website to explain its position at
It argues that it is limited by law to protecting customers against the loss of missing cash or securities in the custody of failing or insolvent SIPC-member brokerage firms.
While Stanford's Texas-based brokerage was a SIPC member, its offshore bank was not. And in any case, SIPC says it was not chartered by Congress to combat fraud or guarantee an investment's value.
"I think as a general policy matter, SIPC probably should win," said Seton Hall University School of Law professor Stephen Lubben. "If they don't, we are turning this insurance fund... into basically fraud protection across the board in all kinds of investments, which is going to be a lot more expensive."
Initially, some staff at the SEC seemed to agree with SIPC's view.
Former SEC General Counsel David Becker is quoted in a report released in September as saying "the law is the law" and that Stanford victims did not qualify.
Then in June, just one day after Senator David Vitter threatened to block the nominations of two SEC commissioners until the agency made a decision on Stanford claims, it announced that it was siding with the victims.
In a 195-page document, the SEC said that for SIPC to conclude that these customers did not actually deposit cash with Stanford Group "would elevate form over substance by honoring a corporate structure designed by Stanford in order to perpetrate an egregious fraud."
The timing of the SEC's announcement has raised some eyebrows at SIPC.
But Angela Shaw, the founder and director of the Stanford Victims Coalition, said the SEC's decision was not based on politics. It came, she said, after she turned over thousands of documents that helped convince the agency that investor money never went to the bank, but was instead spent by the brokerage.
"We have a broker-dealer that was a SIPC member that stole customers' funds," she said. "SIPC covers theft of investor funds when they are stolen by the broker-dealer, and the SEC has not alleged that this foreign bank stole our money."
It is not clear whether Tuesday's hearing will explore the merits of the arguments for or against SIPC coverage for Stanford investors.
The SEC, which has oversight authority over SIPC, plans to tell the judge that its position is "not subject to judicial review." It wants the court to simply weigh whether it has met the requirements to compel SIPC to launch a liquidation proceeding.
Stephen Harbeck, president and CEO of SIPC, rejects that argument entirely.
"I think it is fair to say that the SEC's position is as follows: The court may not look at the facts, the court may not look at the law, SIPC may not present any counter-argument, there is no appeal, and the court must do as we say," he said. "I am unaware of any jurisprudence that allows that."

SEC spokesman John Nester said Harbeck "apparently misunderstands our position, which is based on the facts and the law."

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For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official forum

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ex-Stanford executive gets 5 years in $7B swindle

January 22, 2013
The star prosecution witness in the trial of convicted Texas financier R. Allen Stanford was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for helping to bilk investors out of more than $7 billion in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

James M. Davis had faced up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2009 to three fraud and conspiracy charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

"I am ashamed and I'm embarrassed," Davis said at the sentencing hearing at Houston federal court. "I've perverted what was right and I hurt thousands of investors. I betrayed their trust and also associates and neighbors and friends and my family."

Prosecutors say Stanford persuaded investors to buy certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank, then used that money to bankroll a string of failed businesses and his own lavish lifestyle, including a fleet of private jets and yachts.

At Stanford's trial last year, Davis - the former chief financial officer of Stanford's companies - portrayed his ex-boss as the leader of the fraud who burned through billions of CD deposits. He testified that he and Stanford faked the bank's profits and fabricated documents to hide the fraud.

Stanford, a one-time billionaire, was convicted in March on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison and is serving his sentence in a Central Florida prison.

Many of the dramatic details at Stanford's fraud trial - including testimony about bribes and blood oaths - came from Davis.

Stanford's defense attorneys accused Davis of being behind the fraud and tried to discredit him by calling him a liar and tax cheat. Davis, who was Stanford's roommate at Baylor University for a semester in 1973, said he realized he was party to fraud when he was asked to lie to a potential investor to say the bank had insurance.

Davis said he was "one of those liars" who faked the bank's numbers but that Stanford was "the chief faker."

Another top executive in Stanford's now-defunct empire - former chief investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt - was sentenced to three years in prison in September after pleading guilty to one count of obstruction of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding.

Two other ex-executives - Gilbert Lopez, the ex-chief accounting officer, and Mark Kuhrt, the ex-global controller - were convicted in November of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. They are set to be sentenced Feb. 14.

A former Antiguan financial regulator was also indicted and awaits extradition to the U.S.

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For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the SIVG official forum               

Friday, January 11, 2013


January 11, 2013
By U.S. Receiver (Ralph Janvey)
The Receiver requests that the Court order a first interim distribution of funds from the Receivership Estate for the benefit of defrauded investors in certificates of deposit ("CDs") issued by Stanford International Bank, Ltd. ("SIB"). These investors were the primary source of both the funds that fueled the Stanford Ponzi scheme and the funds recovered by the Receiver. They are also the primary victims of the Stanford fraud by both value and number of claims.

Treatment of Claims under the Interim Plan.

1. The Interim Distribution Amount shall be apportioned among Investor CD Claimants on a pro rata basis. Such Investor CD Claimants shall receive payments equal to a percentage (the "Distribution Percentage") of their Allowed Claim Amounts as reflected in their Notices of Determination. The Allowed Claim Amounts shall be based on the Investor CD Claimants' Net Losses. Any future distributions to Investor CD Claimants shall likewise be pro rata based on Investor CD Claimants' Allowed Claim Amounts.

2. The Distribution Percentage equals the Interim Distribution Amount divided by the sum of: (a) all Allowed Claim Amounts for non-deficient Investor CD Claims as of the filing of the Motion (the "Investors' Allowed Claim Amounts"), and (b) the Receiver's estimate of the Allowed Claim Amounts for all Investor CD Claims that are deficient (the "Investors' Deficient Claim Amounts"). The Distribution Percentage can be represented mathematically as:
Interim Distribution Amount
(Investors' Allowed Claim Amounts) + (Investors' Deficient Claim Amounts)
3. As of January 2, 2012, the aggregate of the Investors' Allowed Claim Amounts equaled $4,237,737,851.75, and the aggregate of the Investors' Deficient Claim Amounts equaled $893,487,080.90. The Distribution Percentage, therefore, is calculated as follows:
________________________ = 1%
4. Investor CD Claimants will receive distributions under the Interim Plan equal to their Allowed Claim Amounts as reflected in their Notices of Determination multiplied by the Distribution Percentage. The amount of a given Investor CD Claimant's interim distribution can be represented mathematically as:

(Particular investor's Allowed Claim Amount) x (Distribution Percentage)

5. If an Investor CD Claimant serves and files a timely objection to a Notice of Determination, the Investor CD Claimant is not disqualified from receiving a distribution under the Interim Plan. However, the Investor CD Claimant shall participate in this interim distribution based initially on the original Allowed Claim Amount in the Notice of Determination. If the Investor CD Claimant ultimately succeeds in increasing the Allowed Claim Amount (either by stipulation with the Receiver or by Court order sustaining the Investor CD Claimant's objection), the claimant shall receive a supplemental payment representing 1% of the difference between the Allowed Claim Amount in the Notice of Determination and the Allowed Claim Amount after final resolution of the claimant's objection.

6. To the extent a claimant receives one or more collateral recoveries, the Receiver will reduce payments to such a claimant to the extent necessary to ensure that all the Investor CD Claimants are treated equally with respect to the percentage of their Allowed Claim Amounts they recover from all sources as of the date of the payments.

7. Each Investor CD Claimant's interim distribution shall be based solely on his Investor CD Claims and not on his other types of Claims, if any.

8. Nothing in this Order shall preclude future distributions to Investor CD Claimants or other Claimants under a different plan. Nor shall anything in this Order restrict the Receiver's authority to compromise and settle any Claim, or resolve any objection to a determination, at any time, as appropriate, without further order of this Court.

For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the SIVG official forum               


January 11, 2013
The Commission has shown that SIPC should be required to file an application for a protective decree as to Stanford Group Company in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

In denying the Commission's application, the district court made two reversible errors:
First, it incorrectly applied a heightened preponderance standard of proof to the Commission's application rather than the more appropriate probable cause standard. Congress created in SIPA a specific process, within the context of a SIPA liquidation, in which investors must prove their claims for coverage under the Act, including their "customer" status, by a preponderance of the evidence. It makes no sense to apply the same standard to the Commission in proving "customer" status on behalf of investors in this preliminary, summary proceeding.

Moreover, Congress's overarching goals of promoting investor confidence in the securities markets by providing speedy relief for investors indicate that a lesser standard of proof should apply to the initial question of whether SIPC should initiate a liquidation. Indeed, perhaps in recognition of this, SIPC itself is held to a lesser standard when it applies to begin a liquidation. The district court was therefore incorrect in applying a higher standard of proof to the Commission, which is SIPC's plenary supervisor.

The district court's error in this regard was based upon the mistaken belief that the application of the provisions of the Exchange Act to SIPA shows a congressional intent to apply the preponderance standard. But there is no sound basis to analogize plenary proceedings under Exchange Act Section 21(e)—used to finally determine whether a permanent injunction should be granted—to this preliminary, summary proceeding used to determine whether SIPC should be required to apply to begin a liquidation proceeding.

Second, the district court incorrectly interpreted SIPA's customer definition to exclude investors who, because of the unusual operation of the Stanford companies, should be deemed to have deposited cash with SGC. The record here provides at least probable cause to believe that the purported legal separateness of SGC and SIBL should be disregarded, such that, by depositing cash with SIBL, SGC accountholders who purchased SIBL CDs through SGC were effectively depositing cash with SGC. Courts facing similar circumstances have disregarded the corporate separateness of SIPC members and non-member affiliated companies, with SIPC's support. The district court's contrary approach improperly elevates form over substance by strictly adhering to the corporate boundaries of the Stanford entities which were designed to perpetrate an egregious fraud.

Even apart from the lack of genuine separateness of the corporate entities, SIPA's "customer" definition includes those who can be deemed to have deposited cash with a broker-dealer under the Old Naples and Primeline cases. Those cases rejected the notion that "customer" status requires that cash be deposited directly with the broker-dealer, and held that investors in certain circumstances fell within the "customer" definition. Those cases are materially indistinguishable from this one, and the district court's belief otherwise was based on a misunderstanding both of those cases and of the record here.

Finally, the Commission's interpretation of SIPA's "customer" definition is the correct one and is, at the very least, a reasonable one entitled to deference under Chevron. The district court declined to give such deference because it perceived an inconsistency between the interpretation and certain past statements of the Commission. The Commission's past statements, however, clearly state only a general presumption and are fully consistent with the Commission's interpretation in this matter.

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For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the SIVG official forum