Stanford victims outside of US and Antigua want justice too

CARACAS, Venezuela, Friday September 30, 2011 – A three-person organisation has stepped up to represent over 20,000 people across 112 countries who were victimised when the ponzi scheme of former Antigua-based banker Allen Stanford collapsed over 2 years ago.

The Texas based leader of the organisation, has denounced authorities in the United States and Antigua for what they see as a deliberate disenfranchisement of Stanford victims outside of those two territories.

In a press release, The Texas based leader, stated that he had sent a letter to the new Joint Liquidators of Stanford International Bank Limited Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson on September 18, copied to the US Receiver, his litigant attorney and to the Official Stanford Investors Committee, to express its indignation at the “dishonest handling of the Stanford Ponzi scheme in Antigua and the United States”.

“Since the SEC filed the civil lawsuit against R. Allen Stanford, his companies and related parties in February of 2009, the organisation has persistently begged the US Receiver and SIBL’s Joint Liquidators, through letters and press releases, to set aside their pettiness and economic interests in order to end the shameful game of “cat and mouse” that has wasted the Stanford victims’ patrimony in a never-ending carousel of litigation’s as a result of their irrational pursuit to control the assets.

“It is unacceptable that the Courts in Antigua and the United States, in detriment to the Stanford’s victims, have allowed the Joint Liquidators and the Receiver, who were named to prevent the waste and squandering of the creditors’ patrimony, to continue fighting for the assets – duplicating costs and efforts, and hindering the possibilities of a pro rata distribution of the victims’ patrimony,”.

The Texas based leader went on to accuse authorities in Antigua and the US of conspiring to allow Stanford “to keep a fraudulent financial empire alive for more than a decade”.
The organisation’s leader went on to say: “We perceive that the case has been managed with very little transparency. We are concerned that the joint liquidators and the receiver continue to be a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. Why prolong the agony of the victims for a jurisdictional battle?”

In the letter, the organisation’s members went on to beg the joint liquidators of and the US receiver to establish a cross-border insolvency cooperation protocol without any further delay.


Victims angry at delay

Agency undecided on helping with Stanford losses

Gerard Shields
Advocate Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — Louisiana victims allegedly bilked of their savings by Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford are getting increasingly frustrated by the delay of an agency deciding whether they can recoup some of their losses.

The Securities Investor Protection Corp. announced earlier in the year that it would decide by Sept. 15 on whether to make about 1,800 Louisiana investors — mostly from Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Covington — eligible to receive at least part of their savings back.

The agency that stands as the U.S. investors’ first line of defense is two weeks late in meeting its deadline.

And those who sank money into Stanford’s operation are getting increasingly nervous.

“Everyone is just desperately watching it,” said Jean Anne Mayhall, founder of the Louisiana Stanford Victims Group.

SIPC chairman Orlan Johnson said the organization needs more time because of the complex issues in the Stanford case.

Stanford stands accused of bilking investors of $7.2 billion, including $1 billion in Louisiana, charges he denies.

“We fully appreciate the gravity of this matter and remain committed to reviewing it thoroughly and with all deliberate speed,” Johnson said in a statement.

That isn’t soothing investors such as Pete Verbois, a 66-year-old former Exxon Mobil worker who lost about $650,000 with Stanford. Even if SIPC makes a decision, it will be awhile before any victims receive their money, Verbois said.

“It’s going to be a lot of red tape before they cut a check,” said Verbois, of St. Francisville. “It’s pretty frustrating.”

In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission determined that victims of Stanford should be eligible to recoup some of their losses from the SIPC’s special fund created by Congress. The SEC has threatened to sue SIPC if it decides otherwise.

The SIPC fund is replenished by member financial institutions. Federal law allows for each victim to receive up to $500,000 of their losses.

A source of frustration among the Stanford investors is that SIPC paid back $732.6 million to victims of convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff, Mayhall said.

SIPC has denied paying Stanford victims, saying that unlike in the Madoff case, investors actually received certificates of deposit, even though they eventually lost their money when the CDs became worthless.

“We have had to fight every step of the way for over two years to be granted the same coverage that Madoff victims received in two weeks,” Mayhall said.

Mayhall said she contacted SIPC, which meets four times a year, and was told that its next scheduled meeting is in December. She said an agency representative told her that the organization will make a decision before then.

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, isn’t surprised by the SIPC delay, he said. The case is complex, with investors living as far away as South America, he said.

It took months for the SEC to make its determination too, Cassidy said.

“We all want the decision to be made yesterday,” Cassidy said. “On the other hand, it’s a pretty complicated case. It’s not to excuse it, it’s just to understand it.”

PAAWS Appeal for Donations to save Animal Sanctuary

Dear friends of PAAWS,                                                                                        September 2011

We hope you can take the time to read this mail and hopefully reply by return to the big question we ask below. PAAWS future depends on it.
Your answers will be presented at our emergency meeting on Sunday October 2nd at the Hideout at 3:30 p.m.

The big question is :
Do you feel there is continued need for a no kill shelter (PAAWS) in Antigua?

PAAWS are heading for a crisis. Our appeals for help in October last year when our numbers rose to 60, and again in February this year were answered by a few wonderful caring individuals, but sadly not nearly enough to give PAAWS a future. The past has shown that the shelter cannot cope without one paid helper, and even though we have just stopped taking in animals for now, we cannot see our way clear of homing the 32 we have at present, any time soon. This is the first year in PAAWS 16 years of life that we are just not homing enough of our rescues, and donations and memberships are way down. We have helped close to 1000 animals during our 7 years at the Parham shelter, it would be heartbreaking if we could not continue. We have funds for only eight more weeks

Cedar, July 2011 Cedar September 2011

PAAWS faces an avalanche of calls about abandoned, abused and neglected animals; our dwindling resources restrict our ability to respond.

Some members of the PAAWS management board are doing all they can to volunteer their own time and resources. Sadly this is not enough. After 16 years of continued efforts and development we pray that we can keep our heads above water in this turbulent sea of decline.

What will YOUR decision be: We CONTINUE or We CLOSE.


R.S.V.P. Tel :Nora or Bill Nedden at 268 460 3667. MEMBERSHIP FORM SENT SEPARATELY

Please us send your decision.
Donations or membership fees by check payable to PAAWS,
Box 1839, St John’s, Antigua. Can also be dropped off at the shelter, or our head office at the Hideout.

Kindest regards,
PAAWS Management Committee.

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David Becker was the Securities and Exchange Commission’s top lawyer, but he could not keep Bernie Madoff away from his own mother


When she died in 2004, she left Mr. Becker and his siblings an estate that included a $2 million Madoff account. His father had made the investment, originally. Didn’t his parents ever get a fake statement in the mail and say, “Hey, this is great. Maybe we should show our son, the securities lawyer?”

Mr. Becker’s parents died not knowing how the investment would turn out. Mr. Becker’s brother liquidated the account in 2005 to pay estate taxes, also not knowing.

Mr. Becker informed his boss, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, and the SEC’s ethics office, after Mr. Madoff finally confessed to running the world’s greatest Ponzi scheme right under the SEC’s nose. Oh, he was some character — taking money from a regulator’s mom. But Mr. Becker’s colleagues at the SEC told him not to worry about it.

Mr. Becker went right on dealing with Madoff matters, influencing such questions as how much victims should receive in compensation from the Securities Investor Protection Corp. and whether Congress should limit clawback lawsuits in Ponzi schemes.

Nobody said anything about his mom’s Madoff loot.

“It simply did not occur to me then that his mother’s account, closed years ago, could present a financial conflict of interest,” Ms. Schapiro told Congress last week.

This is the sentence that Ms. Schapiro should have used to start off her resignation speech.

Despite her vast regulatory experience and legal training, she doesn’t seem to have any idea what happens after a Ponzi scheme implodes: A bankruptcy trustee sues everyone who ever took a fictitious profit so that the money can be divided up fairly among all the victims.

The SEC, which preaches disclosure, never said a word until, inevitably, Mr. Becker was hit with a clawback lawsuit. Turns out $1.5 million of the $2 million in his parents’ account were fictitious profits, according to SEC Inspector General David Korz, who has turned the matter over to the Justice Department to see whether criminal conflict-of-interest laws were violated.

“I thought it doubtful that the trustee would institute a clawback action against me,” Mr. Becker told Congress last week.

Mr. Becker has already left the SEC. So this is the sentence where he should have begun his announcement to resign from the practice of law. All those Madoff victims, out all that money, and they were never going to knock on his door for the $1.5 million? Hey, stop paying the bank while you’re at it, Mr. Becker. Maybe they won’t foreclose on your home.

“For those who think I acted in my financial interest, I would point out that I took a pay cut of over 90% to return to the SEC,” Mr. Becker told Congress. “I … forfeited millions of dollars to serve my country.”

Cue the John Philip Sousa music here. Mr. Becker should have taken the millions he could have earned in private practice and left the country alone.

The SEC’s job is to root out deadly conflicts of interest in America’s corporations. But Mr. Becker and Ms. Schapiro couldn’t smell them in their own office.

Stanford investors insurance coverage source of internal SEC dispute

Loren Steffy

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s change of heart with regard to the long-suffering investors of Allen Stanford is now a little more clear.

Earlier this week, the SEC’s inspector general released his latest report, this one focusing on potential conflicts of interest involving David Becker, the commission’s former general counsel and senior policy director. Becker was involved in the SEC’s case to liquidate Bernard Madoff’s investment firm under the Securities Investor Protection Act, a 1970s law that created an industry-funded insurance program for investors who lost money through broker fraud. Becker, it was later reported, had inherited some “fictitious profits” from a Madoff account that had belonged to his mother and that was liquidated after her death.

The rules for coverage under SIPA, which is administered through the Securities Investor Protection Corp., are very specific. Becker supported the idea that Madoff investors were covered, but he opposed the idea in the Stanford case, according to the report.

Becker himself took a different approach when he analyzed SIPA coverage issue for investors in the multi-billion Ponzi scheme ofR. Allen Stanford from the approach described above in the Madoff Liquidation. After the SEC brought a civil enforcement action against Stanford and three ofhis companies, the President and CEO of SIPC sent a letter to the receiver appointed for the Stanford matter indicating that, based on the facts as set forth by the receiver, there was no basis for SIPC to initiate a proceeding under SIPA with respect to Stanford investors. Becker testified that he became involved initially in the SEC’s considerations about SIPC coverage with respect to Stanford investors, and his opinion as to the matter “was that SIPA, the statute, did not cover the Stanford situation,” noting that although “it didn’t make sense that it would not cover something like Stanford, but cover Madoff, … the law is the law.” By contrast, in the Madoff Liquidation, Becker considered a variety of approaches for determining net equity in order to, as Becker testified, “take the position which got the most money [to] injured investors consistent with the law.”

Becker’s opposition to SIPC coverage for Stanford investors may be the reason that the SEC appeared to support SIPC’s position that clients of Stanford’s brokerage weren’t covered, even though Stanford’s brokerage, a SIPC member, peddled the bogus certificates of deposit at the heart of the alleged Ponzi scheme.

After Becker left, the SEC changed its mind on the idea of SIPC coverage, saying many of Stanford’s U.S. investors should be covered under the law. SIPC’s board is still considering the SEC’s decisions, and its expected to announce its own decision this month.

Here’s the full inspector general’s report.

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