VOL. 124 | NO. 75 | Friday, April 17, 2009
Local Advisers Named in Suit to Recover Stanford Money
By Andy Meek
The court-appointed receiver who’s taken charge of the Stanford Financial Group’s business empire filed a lawsuit Wednesday in an attempt to recover more than $40 million Stanford paid 66 financial advisers. Five of the advisers are from the Memphis area.
That group collectively has $1.6 million in compensation the receiver is looking to get back:
Ralph Janvey, a Dallas attorney operating as Stanford’s receiver, is looking to recover Stanford assets and secure the company’s business operations and holdings.
The money he’s seeking via the lawsuit was paid as commissions and other compensation for the sale of Stanford’s certificates of deposits.
Those CDs are at the heart of what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission believes is an $8 billion pyramid scheme. The SEC in February filed a civil complaint against Stanford, its chairman and two executives that, among other things, alleged the CDs were sold by promising inflated and near-impossible returns.
“Over just a two-year period, these financial advisers received commissions ranging in amounts from $2.6 million to $200,000, along with other incentive compensation, to promote the sales of CDs,” reads Janvey’s complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Janvey contends the money is appropriate for him to recover because it was paid to Stanford employees who continued to bring new investors in to buy the company’s allegedly fraudulent products.
Stanford chairman R. Allen Stanford, chief financial officer James Davis and chief investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt “kept their fraudulent scheme going by using the (financial advisers) to lure new investors,” the complaint reads. “The commissions, loans and other compensation paid to (the advisers) came not from revenue generated by legitimate business activities, but from monies contributed by defrauded investors.”
As part of its U.S. presence, Stanford operated a brokerage office in the East Memphis Crescent Center, and the company’s chief investment officer and chief financial officer at one time both worked there. The closure of Stanford’s Memphis office as a result of the broader investigation meant the loss of 50 jobs, according to information from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.