Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Five years since swindle, some Stanford victims now threatened with lawsuit

By Stephanie Riegel Published Feb 17, 2014 at 2:38

This month marks five years since investors with the now-defunct Stanford Group—which had a large presence in Baton Rouge—first learned they were victims of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. And, though R. Allen Stanford has since been convicted and sent to prison for the massive fraud, most of the 28,000 investors who thought they were buying certificates of deposit from Stanford International Bank in Antigua have yet to recoup more than 1% of their lost savings. 

Now, adding insult to injury, some local victims are getting emails from a receiver in the case threatening to sue them in connection with claims they filed to recover their funds. "We're being terrorized again after five years," says Blaine Smith, a local Stanford victim, who lost more than $1 million through Stanford and is among those who have received the emails. "It's really kind of sick."

 Smith says the emails are coming from Grant Thornton, an Antiguan-based receiver that is supposed to be helping victims recoup lost funds. There is also a U.S. receiver in the case. Smith has filed claims with both. 

In his letter, Grant Thornton tells Smith that because he withdrew nearly $22,000 in interest payments from his account with Stanford back in 2008—before the Ponzi scheme had been uncovered by the Securities and Exchange Commission—he must return the money before his claim is processed. "Failure to repay may result in the estate seeking judgment against you," the letter reads.

 Smith has been in contact with Angela Kogutt, the head of the Stanford Victims Coalition, which advocates in Washington, D.C., for Stanford victims. In an email to Smith, Kogutt says other victims have also received the email and that she is trying to get to the bottom of the matter.

 Smith has also contacted the offices of U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, as well as U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who he says have been very supportive and helpful.

 Stanford is serving a 110-year prison sentence in Florida, while multiple lawsuits rage on over victim compensation. Kogutt was recently quoted in the national media as saying it could be years before victims recoup any of their lost investments.

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For a full and open debate on the Stanford Receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group – SIVG official forum

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