Walter Pierce

Independent reporting taken to task in lawsuit

by Walter Pierce

Former Stanford Group Co. financial advisor Tiffany Angelle has filed a civil suit against The Independent Weekly in state district court seeking unspecified damages. Angelle’s suit accuses the newspaper of defaming her character.

As The Independent and other news organizations across the state reported over the spring, Angelle is one of numerous former financial advisors of the now-defunct investment firm being sued by groups of Stanford investors from Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state seeking to recover millions of dollars lost on dubious CDs purchased through the Antigua-based “bank.” Angelle, specifically, is being sued in federal court by the court-appointed receiver who is trying to recover almost $700,000 in commissions from her. According to the complaint, “Between January 2007 and January 2009 Angelle received approximately $675,664 in fraudulent commissions traceable to Defendants’ [R. Allen Stanford et al] fraudulent scheme, as well as other tainted ‘compensation’ traceable to the fraud.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accuses founder and billionaire Stanford and other executives at his massive financial services company of operating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme, characterizing it as “a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world.”

The Independent Weekly attempted on numerous occasions to contact Angelle for our reporting on the Stanford case and her role in it. The editorial board stands by our coverage of this story and will address in court what we perceive to be an attempt through legal means at press intimidation. And we will continue to report on the fallout — economic and legal — from the closure of the Stanford office in Lafayette where Angelle was once employed as vice president.