Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vegas casino sues Stanford over big gambling debt

A swanky casino on the Las Vegas strip is suing accused swindler Allen Stanford for repayment of a gambling debt of more than a quarter million dollars, according to court papers.

Bellagio LLC seeks to recover the $258,480 debt Stanford accrued in January 2009 plus 18 percent interest, according to the lawsuit filed in state court in Nevada on Tuesday.

Stanford is accused of running an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme that regulators described as "massive." The fraud centered on certificates of deposit (CDs) issued by the firm's offshore bank in Antigua, prosecutors said.

Stanford used proceeds from the CDs to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a fleet of private jets and luxury homes in Texas, Miami and the Caribbean, according to U.S. prosecutors.

Stanford's girlfriend paid for the trip to Las Vegas as a birthday treat for the Texas financier, Dick DeGuerin, Stanford's attorney told a bond hearing in July.

In February, Stanford's assets were seized by a court-appointed receiver after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges.

Stanford, who also faces a 21-count criminal indictment, has said that the asset freeze has left him broke. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Gambling markers, which are similar to lines of credit, signed by Stanford were deposited by Bellagio and returned unpaid by Mellon United National Bank in Miami, according to the lawsuit.

DeGuerin was not immediately available for a comment on the lawsuit.

Early on Wednesday morning, Stanford had elective surgery to repair an aneurysm in his leg, a representative in DeGuerin's office said. He had been hospitalized for five days for heart tests but is back in a jail forty miles north of Houston until his trial.

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