Leslie Turk

FBI seeking Stanford victims

by Leslie Turk

If you've invested money in the Stanford Financial Group or its affiliated companies in recent years, you may be the victim of a multi-billion dollar investment fraud - which is why the FBI would like to hear from you.

The FBI is investigating Stanford, which provides wealth management services to customers in more than 100 countries. On Feb. 26, Stanford's chief investment officer was charged with obstructing a separate investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hoping to halt what it called "a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world," the SEC charged billionaire R. Allen Stanford and other executives at his massive financial services company with operating an $8 billion fraudulent investment scheme. In a complaint filed in mid-February in U.S. District Court in Dallas, the SEC alleged Antigua-based Stanford International Bank fabricated investment returns in order to market and sell high-yielding CDs. The SEC immediately acted to freeze all of Stanford's assets, with the FBI also breathing down the company's back.

"Our case is ongoing, and while we can’t provide any additional information on our investigation at this time, we do need to hear from you to identify victims and to determine the extent of the potential fraud," the FBI writes on its Web site.

“The FBI understands the devastating financial, emotional, and physical impact that fraud can have in the lives of individuals and families,” says Kathryn Turman, director of the FBI's victim assistance office. “We see it every day. Even in these large-scale cases, the victims and their losses are not just numbers to us. Even when we cannot restore lost funds, we can usually provide help, hope and support as we also work to bring justice to the perpetrators who are suspected of inflicting the damage.”

Some 1,000 Stanford employees were terminated Friday.

Stanford officials at one time indicated that Baton Rouge and Lafayette residents had invested more than $2 billion with the company. If you or someone you know is a victim, please contact The Independent Weekly/Acadiana Business at [email protected]

E-mail the FBI at [email protected]; call (713) 693-5699 for recorded information on the FBI's victim assistance program.