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Thursday, January 20, 2011

QUESTIONABLE ADVICE FROM THE STANFORD VICTIMS COALITION - ADVISING INVESTORS TO SELF-FILE FTCA CLAIMS ?

There has been correspondence from certain individuals, in particular Angela Kogutt, Founder and Director of the Stanford Victims Coalition, suggesting that FTCA claims are straightforward and that the forms are easy to fill-out. She has even suggested using hers as a template for other investors, presuming that ‘what caused her damages also caused theirs.’ This is a precarious presumption, and may not be such smart advice for those investors who have not fully researched FTCA claims.

Before using Mrs Kogutt’s SF-95 as a template for your claim, you may consider asking yourself some questions: Is the nature of your losses the same as hers? For instance, have you had other losses such as medical expenses? Have you lost your home or other properties as a result of losing your investment? May you be facing either of those possibilities in the future? Are you comfortable accepting her explanation as to why the SEC is responsible for your loss? If your copy of her claim should be rejected by the SEC as invalid, could you accept this? Would you be so upset that you consider her liable for influencing you to copy her claim? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then perhaps you should consult with your attorney or an experienced attorney who is both qualified and indemnified to give such advice.

As an aside, it is interesting to see that the Stanford Victims Coalition still somewhat disingenuously claim to be ‘an International Advocacy Group representing the best interests of 28,000 Stanford victims in 118 countries.’ Rather inappropriate after the SVC unilaterally abandoned all their overseas supporters to their fate, within days of Angela Kogutt being appointed to the Stanford Investors Committee last year. It is also interesting to note that it is now seemingly acceptable for SVC to state they ‘do not recommend’ any specific attorney, when in the past, as we all know, they endorsed an attorney who is now unwilling to litigate this case. With a new, experienced, and very highly qualified attorney willing to go the distance for us, one would think the SVC may be a little more proactive than to suggest that we file our own claims, simply because the attorney is not to their liking!

Enough of the SVC. So what can ‘self-filers’ expect to happen with their claims? If their administrative claims are properly constructed, then they may be able to get them filed with the SEC without paying any initial attorney fees; but if an award is ultimately made by the court; be aware, the judge may well award up to 25% to the ‘lead attorney’ as contingency fees. The ‘self-filers’ who do not have a contract for a 15% contingency fee, such as that negotiated by the Stanford International Victims Group with Kachroo Legal Services, may find they pay more in the end. If their claims have not already been rejected as ineligible that is; and remember, there are other attorneys out there who have retained many Stanford investors, some at whopping 32% contingency fees, who may also be considering a shot at the ‘lead attorney’ role.

Please bear in mind there is also the distinct possibility that individual investors who ‘self-file’ could be excluded from any future class action, even if they manage to successfully file their own claims, simply because their explanation why the SEC is responsible differs significantly from the explanation given by the rest of the class. In that case, they may have to argue their claim in court, on their own, and at their own expense.

Then there are the plethora of precedents, case-law, and other legal obstacles to be overcome in a trial, and remember there is also a correct and timely submission process just to be eligible, the details of which have been highlighted in previous posts. This is not for the faint hearted.
The deadline for claims is fast approaching. Unless claims are submitted correctly and timely before the two year Statute of Limitations expires next month on the 16th February 2011, Stanford investors will be denied any recovery from the US government, forever.

Please consult an attorney to submit your claim. Ensure that the attorney you hire is also willing to litigate your claim, should it be rejected or otherwise be ineligible, and choose one who already has experience of submitting FTCA claims.

Please contact your attorney without delay, or the attorney hired by the Stanford International Victims Group: Kachroo Legal Services, Cambridge, Mass., who already have extensive experience of submitting FTCA claims on behalf of the Madoff investors. Email: info@kachroolegal.com

Allen Stanford, former sole shareholder of the Stanford International Bank, a part of the Stanford Financial Group, now in receivership, is currently being detained awaiting trial in Houston, Texas, charged with 23 counts of fraud. The mastermind of an $8bn Ponzi scheme which caused 28,000 investors worldwide the loss of their life savings, many of whom could have been spared if the US Securities and Exchange Commission had acted when they first became aware Allen Stanford’s activities were likely a Ponzi scheme, 13 years ago.

Source: David Brent (Stanford International Victims Group)

4 comments:

  1. This is excellent advice to anyone who lost money to Stanford. I have been following this blog for a while now and it has been an excellent source of information and given my wife and I hope.

    Keep up the good work!

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  2. Now I am confused. Who sent the SF-95 form? Angela? I received it from Jaime Escalona. I thought Angela was backing Kachroo Legal Services.

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  3. I believe Jaime Escalona is sending SF-95 forms out advising victims on how to fill them in.

    Angela has also been sending emails advising people on how to fill in the SF-95.

    The actions of both these people in giving legal advice to victims in regards to filling out their own SF-95 leaves them open to legal action should anybody taking their advice have their FTCA claim rejected.

    I noticed Angela sent out a recent email again giving legal advice but this time adding a note at the end saying she is not an attorney, unfortunately for Angela it is to little, to late.

    I would personally seek the services of a professional attorney, either kachroo Legal Services or an attorney of your choice. But it would be very risky taking advice from either Mr Escalona or Angela neither of whom are attorneys.

    The advice on this blog seems to me to be fair and impartial. I have spoken with other victims and signed up with Kachroo, nothing is certain but to me it's our best chance.

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  4. This has become a Punch and Judy show, but who's pulling Angela's strings?

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