Leslie Turk

Stanford victims to Obama: yes you can!

by Leslie Turk

In a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal this week, members of the Stanford Victims Coalition are appealing to President Barack Obama to find a way to help them recover from the fraud. The group makes a strong case for what now appears to be overwhelming evidence that regulators and government agencies failed them as far back as 1999. “Multiple US government agencies had knowledge of Stanford’s alleged fraudulent business practices and corruption within the government of Antigua, yet Stanford investors were never warned,” the letter reads. It goes on to say:
President Obama, you have taken extraordinary measures to help put America on a path to financial recovery, yet thousands of financial fraud victims are now becoming burdens on their families and the government because the US government has not been accountable for its actions and inactions. Our request of you is, at a minimum, to ensure the US government discloses what really happened with the Stanford Financial Group and how such an intricate scheme was able to infiltrate the global financial system and ruin the lives of so many innocent victims.

“We are not asking for a bailout,” the coalition members say. “We simply want to get back what is rightfully ours.”

Stanford Group Co. and its 150 local agents who performed brokerage work in the state operated two offices here -- one in Baton Rouge and on in River Ranch in Lafayette. Stanford Trust Company, another subsidiary of Stanford Financial Group, was based in Baton Rouge as well. Despite that a number of former Stanford employees attempted to blow the whistle on the alleged Ponzi scheme over at least five years, the company was allowed to continue operating until earlier this year.

Stanford victims who went to state Rep. Bodi White’s legislative office in early June 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, have just released those videos.

Earlier this week, in a story titled, “Going After the Sharks,” Baton Rouge Business Report explored the potential criminal charges former Stanford employees in Louisiana could face as a result of the ongoing investigation led by David Caldwell, director of the state AG’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit:

But whether it’s housekeeping or tending to produce fields, some of Louisiana’s white-collar workers—employees of Stanford Group Company and Stanford Trust Company—could find themselves alongside the criminal class, serving time as well as meals if convicted for securities violations, theft or money laundering. ...
The federal investigation will focus on those people who crafted the alleged fraud, but the state, [David] Caldwell says, has a responsibility in finding those at the company level, who led the local offices or who sold the Certificates of Deposit and punishing them if it’s determined they intentionally, or by failure of any fiduciary responsibility, led investors astray.

Read the rest of the BRBR story here and the publication’s recent in-depth report on the scandal that has shattered lives across south Louisiana.