Allen Stanford’s many lives

June 4, 2009

The clock is still ticking on what would appear to be an inevitable indictment for disgraced Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, the man who allegedly ran an $8 billion Ponzi scheme out of his Antigua-based bank. It appears the federal prosecutors manning the investigation are trying to make sure they have an airtight case before filing criminal charges–something Stanford and his lawyer expect will happen any day.

At first blush, it’s hard to fathom why it should take this long for prosecutors to file charges, given that Stanford and two of his top associates were the subject of a civil action by the Securities and Exchange Commission nearly three months ago. One of those associates, Laura Pendergest-Holt, has even been indicted on federal obstruction of justice charges. But still nothing on Stanford.

Bryan Burroughs, in the most recent issue of Vanity Fair, does a good job detailing how just about every US investigative agency was on Stanford’s tail for more than 15 years. But whether it was allegations of money laundering, or fleecing investors with the sale of dubious CDs, no one was ever able to get the goods on Stanford.

In fact, I’m told Houston and New Orleans agents from DEA and IRS even considered running an ABSCAM-style sting on Stanford in 1998. The plan called for the agencies to work together and rent a yacht and throw a party with undercover agents posing as big-time drug dealers. The agencies planned to invite Stanford and some of his cronies to the party to see if he’d be willing to do business with the drug dealers. In other words, help them hide the proceeds from their illegal trade. The sting never happened.  It’s not entirely clear why.

Ironically, a year later, DEA agents in Miami would praise Stanford as being one of the good guys in agreeing to turn over money that a group of alleged drug dealers had stashed away in an account at his Antigua-based bank. Again, it’s not clear if the Miami agents knew about the aborted sting the Houston agents had discussed.

Sure, a lot of the difficulty in going after Stanford stemmed from the simple fact that he kept the core of his operation in a tiny country, whose political leaders were all too cozy with the native Texan and dependent on his largess to fuel the nation’s economy. But there probably also was a simple lack of will on the part of the SEC, FBI, DEA and IRS to follow things through, in part because so many of Stanford’s banking customers were Latin Americans.

Or, as Burroughs describes, may be it was the aggressive lobbying by the investigative firm Kroll that tamed the authorities looking into Stanford. And, of course, don’t rule out the impact of inter-agency turf battles making it difficult for anyone investigative agency to take the lead and bring Stanford to justice.

In the end, the sad part of the Stanford story will be one of missed opportunities by investigators. All those years of failing to bring a case against Stanford simply allowed him to build his empire and sell more CDs to investors wanting to believe they’d found a can’t lose proposition.

It would have been nice if one of those agencies had thrown up some red flag along the way to at least warn investors to stay away.


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[...] new colleague Matt Goldstein wonders today why it took so long to nail Allen [...]

Attorneys for Allen Stanford today filed the Defendants’ response in opposition to receiver’s motion for approval of interim fee application and procedures for future compensation of fees and expenses and brief in support.

To read this file, visit

He is a crook and a fraud; like so many of these men in business and the upper middle class; they are “Clark Rockefellers” selling their clients a load of crap, and pocketing their money.

Can anyone tell me why the US government are not being chased to pay back the money to the investors that have lost their money. It appears that the US government have known about this since pre 1999 and could have prevented innocent people from investing their money in an illegal scheme.
Surely the SEC and DEA could have dealt with this in a manner that would have protected the investors and maybe allowed the money to be recouped over a period of time rather than just allowing the CD investors to lose out completely.
There have been many bank regulators that were giving this organisation a good rating of A minus who have now dissappeared into the woodwork and are keeping there heads down.
My final point is that all this deceipt and selling of these CD’s seems to have be done by US citizens and is it not know time for the US government to take responsibility for its citizens behaviour and pay back the innocent investors money……………they knew this was happening for many years and allowed people to keep put their hard earned money into the bank believing it was safe……… it was endorsed by many oreganisations to be a good and sound bank.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

[...] a post from his collegue Matthew Goldstein.  To make this more confusing, it is Goldstein’s post that links to “VF Notes Section”. I can’t find what Salmon appears to have quoted [...]

Allen Stanford’s school of serial swindlers use name dropping, stamped passports, falsified tax returns, and donations to St. Jude’s to gain trust and power over private companies with aspirations to go public. According to SEC files, Sydney Trip Camper botched a deal with the Ahkoy family’s Datec and was fired from Elandia Inc. by Allen Stanford. With help from his new partner in crime, Sydney Camper went on to his next victim in Los Angeles and ruined this private company by forming a shell holding company, opening secret bank accounts, and using all THEIR assets to get OTHER people to loan HIM money = PONZI SCHEME!!!! In true Stanford form, Sydney Camper moved on to InZon and Ed Berkhof is orchestrating a new scam with FMC Telecom. Frank Cassidy, owner of FMC Telecom, is either his new fellow fraudster or Mr. Cassidy has fallen victim to Ed Berkhof’s new Ponzi scheme. The FBI and SEC are investigating Allen Stanford, James M. Davis and their den of thieves including Sidney D. Trip Camper III and Ed Berkhof.

Posted by sirgeraldbirkin | Report as abusive