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Friday, November 23, 2012

Convictions of Two Accounting Execs May Wrap Up Prosecutions for Stanford Ponzi Scheme

In federal court in Texas yesterday, prosecutors in the Stanford Financial case won convictions against Gilbert Lopez Jr., the former chief accounting officer for Stanford Financial Group, and Mark Kuhrt, the former global controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management. The convictions appear to mark the end of the many criminal prosecutions that resulted from the massive Stanford Ponzi scheme that began to unravel in early 2009.

According to a Bloomberg report, both Lopez and Kuhrt were found guilty of 9 of 10 wire fraud counts and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors alleged that the men helped hide the company's scheme that involved bogus certificates of deposit at Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. Sentencing for Lopez and Kuhrt is set for February 14, and they both face prison terms of more than 20 years. Lawyers for the men acknowledged that there was "massive fraud" going on at the company, but that Lopez and Kuhrt had themselves been deceived by Allen Stanford and the company's former CFO, James Davis.

Earlier this year, Allen Stanford was found guilty by a jury on thirteen counts, including charges of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and sentenced to 110 years in prison (along with a personal money judgment of $5.9 billion against him). Davis pleaded guilty back in 2009 to three counts of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and securities fraud; mail fraud; and conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation. He has been cooperating with the government's prosecutions of others such as Lopez, Kuhrt, and former Chief Investment Officer Laura Pendergest-Holt, and has yet to be sentenced.

With the trial of Lopez and Kuhrt now completed, all of the criminal trials from the Stanford case now appear to be wrapped up. The final Stanford scorecard looks like this:
  • R. Allen Stanford (former Chairman of Stanford International Bank): Convicted on June 14, 2012 on 13 counts (one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation, one count of obstruction of an SEC investigation and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering). Sentenced to 110 years in prison.
  • Laura Pendergest-Holt (former Chief Investment Officer): Pleaded guilty in June 2012 to obstructing an SEC investigation into Stanford International Bank. Sentenced in September 2012 to 36 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release.
  • James M. Davis (former CFO): Pleaded guilty in April 2009, to three counts (conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and securities fraud; mail fraud; and conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation). Has not yet been sentenced.
  • Gilberto T. Lopez (former Chief Accounting Officer) and Mark J. Kuhrt (former Global Controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management): Convicted in November 2012 on 9 counts of wire fraud counts and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Scheduled to be sentenced on February 14, 2012.
  • Bruce Perraud (former global security specialist at Stanford Financial Group) and Thomas Raffanello (former global director of security at Stanford Financial Group): Perraud and Raffanello were both acquitted by the judge presiding over the case against them. Prosecutors had alleged that the men conspired to obstruct an SEC proceeding and to destroy documents in a federal investigation.

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