Leslie Turk

Stanford victims tape their heartbreaking stories

by Leslie Turk

Fifty-nine-year-old Troy Lillie of Maurice this morning tells the INDsider he was among the youngest of Stanford victims who went to state Rep. Bodi White’s legislative office Sunday to tape their stories about losing their life savings in what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleges was an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. An SEC official characterized the scheme as “a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world.”

“A good many of them were Exxon people,” says Lillie, himself a retired ExxonMobil employee. “Some of them I had never met. There were people in their 60s, 70s. It’s unbelievable, people at this age. I understand several of them did break down.”

The Advocate reported today that dozens of people who had lost their retirement savings invested with Texas billionaire Robert Allen Stanford's companies all wanted White, other state legislators and members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation to know how the fall of Stanford’s "bank" on the island of Antigua has devastated them.

The case, which involves so-called CDs held by the foreign bank, affects thousands of people in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other Louisiana cities.

Lillie says his adviser, Michael Word of Baton Rouge, told him the investments were safe, liquid deposits, a claim Lillie says Word’s assistant reiterated when Lillie called the office in November. He was concerned about the safety of his CDs.

“His assistant said the CD money was safe. She was very adamant about it, that it was rock solid, the safest place to have it,” Lillie continues. “[Word] called me back in December and had changed his tune. He told me we ought to take it out. He said we’ll put it in a money market account and it will be insured by the FDIC in an account in the United States."

Lillie's money, about $900,000 of his life’s savings, today sits in the money market account but has been frozen by the feds. It may be subject to a clawback provision.
“They were CDs in name only,” Lillie says. “I’ve heard at best they may have been hedge funds.”

According to The Advocate, several victims who taped their stories asked for tougher regulation of financial markets, imprisonment of any criminal offenders and help in recovering Stanford assets around the world.

“I hope that all of the evidence on what happened comes out,” Lillie is quoted saying. “If there are criminal actions needed, I hope they go to the people who are guilty here.”

The INDsider will post the video online as soon as it is available. Read the rest of The Advocate story here.