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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Victims of Stanford Group still fight for their money

It’s been more than six years since federal agents stormed the offices of the Stanford Financial Group, and more than three years since Allen Stanford was convicted of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Back in 2009, Stanford’s victims, many of whom had lost their entire retirement savings, held public forums with their elected leaders and pleaded for someone, anyone, to make them whole again.

 The victims have been much quieter lately. A website belonging to the Stanford Victims Coalition seems not to have been updated in years, and it hosts a purported link to a Louisiana victims group that leads nowhere. Business Report tried to contact local victims who have spoken out in the past; they either did not return the call or declined to be interviewed, explaining that they’re burned out on talking about their plight.

 But the fight to obtain some sort of compensation for Stanford’s victims continues.

 “There’s a lot going on,” says Baton Rouge attorney Phil Preis, who is pursuing a class action on behalf of the victims. “I remain optimistic that, within the next six months to a year, there are going to be some major recoveries. I know a lot of people are spending a lot of time trying to make it happen.”

 There have been setbacks. Last year, a District of Columbia appellate court ruled that, unlike Bernie Madoff’s victims, people swindled by Stanford were not entitled to money from the industry-funded Securities Investor Protection Corp. because Stanford’s Antigua-based bank was not an SIPC member.

 But the Stanford Financial Receivership, headed by Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey, is fighting on many fronts. A number of those claims have been successful, although so far investors have received only a penny or two on the dollar, Preis says.

Read the full article Here.

For a full and open debate on the Stanford receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official Forum http://sivg.org.ag/


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Stanford Ponzi Investors Ordered to Return $2M

Two dozen investors in R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme must return approximately $2 million in profits they received, a Dallas federal judge ruled Tuesday.

 U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey granted in part court-appointed receiver Ralph S. Janvey's motions for partial summary judgment in six lawsuits filed in 2009 and 2010 against investors who received more money than what they invested.

 "The court previously granted the receiver's motion for summary judgment against similarly situated net-winner defendants," the 11-page order said. "The court found that the receiver had established Stanford operated a Ponzi scheme, and that the net-winner defendants had not provided 'value' to the Stanford entities for the interest payments they had received. Based on those conclusions, the court granted the receiver's motion as to net winner defendants whose interest payments had been factually established. The Fifth Circuit subsequently affirmed the court's orders."

 The appeals court ruled in Sept. 2014 that allowing net-winner investors to keep their profits would "further the debtors' fraudulent scheme at the expense of other" investors. It concluded that any recovery would be paid out of money "rightfully belonging" to the other victims of the Ponzi scheme, not from the Stanford entities' own assets "because they had no assets they could legitimately call their own."

 Relying on that ruling, Godbey wrote the defendants "have not suggested that the court's analysis should be any different here" regarding their alleged failure to provide "value" for the payments.

 The defendants include Anibal Morgado, David Morgado, and Vasco M. Diniz Morgado, who were ordered to return over $672,000. Chloee K. Poag and G. Dan Poag Jr. were ordered to repay over $247,000. The remaining individual defendants were ordered to repay $23,000 to $178,000.

 Godbey also ruled that Janvey cannot recover $181,000 from Joyce S. Erfurdt and T. Mark Kelly, having addressed their objections to the receiver's claims in a separate order.

 He also declined to order payment from George and Dolores Rollar, concluding there is still an unresolved issue of fact over whether Janvey acted diligently in serving them.

 Janvey has filed approximately 50 lawsuits against Stanford money recipients since his appointment.

Read more Here.

For a full and open debate on the Stanford receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official Forum http://sivg.org.ag/


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fifth Circuit Refuses Stanford Litigation Stay


Weary of waiting years for a court-appointed receiver to finish his job securing millions in assets connected to R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion dollar Ponzi scheme through federal court litigation, some of the imprisoned financier's victims would like to pursue their claims in Texas state courts.

But for the second time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has refused to grant a plaintiff's request to lift a litigation stay imposed over them five years ago by U.S. District Judge David Godbey of Dallas.

Godbey's stay halts state law claims against Stanford from proceeding, thereby protecting the assets a receiver he appointed is seeking to collect as part of federal civil litigation filed against Stanford by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009.

The Sept. 16 decision in Rishmague v. Winter, prevents two separate cases from proceeding in state court in which plaintiffs allege they were harmed by Stanford who allegedly purported the CDs they bought at his bank were backed up by insurance when they weren't. Stanford is currently serving 110 years in prison after a Houston federal jury convicted him of numerous fraud allegations. More than 100 civil actions involving Stanford assets are pending before Godbey.

The plaintiffs in Rishmague asked Godbey to lift the stay, were refused, and they appealed his decision to the Fifth Circuit because "the receivership stay has been in place for five years with no end in sight," according to their appellate brief in the case.

In his decision, Judge Stephen Higginson noted that the court had previously denied other plaintiffs' attempts to lift Godbey's stay, noting that the trial court has broad authority to issue stays to preserve property placed into receivership pursuant to SEC actions. And he also noted that Godbey has more than a dozen Stanford receiver cases set for trial in the next year and half. [See "R. Allen Stanford Civil Litigation Hits the Stage," Texas Lawyer, Feb. 16, 2015."]

"We are mindful that four years have passed since that decision" first upholding Godbey's litigation stay, Higginson wrote. "At this time, however, as the district court continues to receive itself as well as coordinate and oversee extensive litigation, relating to asset recovery, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion in declining to lift the litigation stay."

Kevin Sadler, a partner in the Palo Alto office of Baker Botts who represents receiver Ralph Janvey in the case, is pleased with the Fifth Circuit's decision upholding the litigation stay.

"The receiver continues to pursue numerous lawsuits to recover funds for the benefit of the more than 18,000 victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme. Asset-recovery litigation is a very difficult and lengthy process," Sadler said. "The litigation stay affirmed by the Fifth Circuit's decision allows the receiver to continue to focus his efforts on these lawsuits against parties who aided or profited from the Stanford Ponzi scheme."

 Leslie Hyman, a partner in San Antonio's Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen, Benson & Jones who represents the investor plaintiffs in the case, is disappointed in the Fifth Circuit's decision— given that Godbey has lifted the stay for investors seeking similarly situated claims against Stanford in federal court "and we're not being allowed to proceed in state court."

"Now he's lifted the stay as to investors suing in federal court as to investors suing in state court. And the Fifth Circuit said, apparently, that was fine," Hyman said of Godbey. "What we were hoping for was at the very least some guidance as to when it might be appropriate to lift the stay but they chose not to offer that guidance."

Read the entire article Here.

For a full and open debate on the Stanford receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official Forum http://sivg.org.ag/


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fifth Circuit to Allen Stanford victims: You’ll have to keep waiting


When Dallas lawyer Ralph Janvey was appointed receiver in the Allen Stanford fraud case in 2009, a federal judge in Dallas put in place an order blocking other cases that might interfere with Janvey’s efforts to claw back the $5.5 billion in deposits Stanford’s duped clients had invested.

 Four years ago, plaintiffs sought to have that stay lifted, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal judge overseeing the cases in Dallas had “broad authority” to issue the stay and refused to lift it.

 Today, a second challenge was similarly rejected, even as the appeals court conceded that the wheels of justice in the Stanford cases are moving very slowly.

 The appellate court’s reason: While it’s been a very long time, Janvey is still pursuing his cases and, absent evidence that the abused his discretion, it’s his call as to whether to keep the stay in place. 

“Emphasizing the district court’s ‘broad authority to issue blanket stays of litigation to preserve the property placed in receivership pursuant to SEC actions,’ this court previously upheld this same litigation stay against similar challenges. We are mindful that four years have passed since that decision. At this time, however, as the district court continues to receive itself as well as coordinate and oversee extensive litigation, relating to asset recovery, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion in declining to lift the litigation stay.”


View the Fifth Circuit s District Court Ruling on Litigation Stay HERE: 

For a full and open debate on the Stanford receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official Forum http://sivg.org.ag/


Friday, September 4, 2015

Court Rules on Net Winners & Preference Creditors


For a copy of the court ruling, click here

For a full and open debate on the Stanford receivership visit the Stanford International Victims Group - SIVG official Forum http://sivg.org.ag/