Stanford appeal delayed 60 days as court grants DOJ more time to respond

Houston2012

WASHINGTON—Allen Stanford’s many victims have grown used to waiting. They waited for years for the former Houston billionaire to be tried, and they’re still waiting to see some of their billions that the disgraced banker fleeced from their investment accounts.

They’ve also been waiting for Stanford’s 2012 conviction to finally be settled, and of that to happen the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is going to have to hear his appeal, something that has been delayed again and again as Stanford has worked through a series of fired lawyers and finally filed his 299-page brief this fall.

Word came this week, however, that the victims will have a wait a little longer still — and this time it’s the U.S. Government that has sought the delay. The Fifth Circuit granted the DOJ’s request for more time to file its answer to Stanford’s appeal on Tuesday.

The U.S. response to Stanford’s brief, which he has since rewritten and scaled down to comply with court rules on length, is due Feb. 3.

The court granted the government’s request without seeking Stanford’s approval, a point he apparently didn’t like. He filed a letter yesterday saying that he is “vehemently opposed” to the 60-day extension, and will be filing a motion in opposition soon, though such a motion doesn’t seem likely to have any legal significance at all.

Stanford is serving a 110-year sentence in a federal prison in Florida. He was convicted of fraud after an SEC complaint triggered an investigation into what a jury later concluded had been a massive, transcontinental Ponzi scheme centered in Houston and in Antigua.

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

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Fifth Circuit to convict Allen Stanford: Follow the rules or risk losing chance to be heard

Former Houston billionaire Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 18,000 investors, is appealing his conviction. He's currently serving a 110-year sentence. File photo

Former Houston billionaire Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 18,000 investors, is appealing his conviction. He’s currently serving a 110-year sentence. File photo.

WASHINGTON — The appeals court that will hear former Houston billionaire Allen Stanford’s appeal has sent him a blunt warning. Keep breaking the rules when it comes to filing your appeal, and he may lose his chance to be heard at all.

That’s the message sent last week when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans wrote Stanford a letter telling him that the court has filed his latest brief arguing that his 2012 conviction was illegal. “However, you must make the following
corrections within the next 14 days,” an Oct. 23 letter from the court to Stanford reads.

Adds the court clerk: “As this is the second request to make your brief sufficient, any further insufficiencies received may move the court to strike your brief and dismiss your appeal.”

Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison, and is serving his term in central Florida. He has fired his lawyers and is representing himself. He filed a 299-page appeal in September, which the court promptly rejected as too long. He was given to Oct. 6, and then an extension to Oct. 22, to make it conform to the already-relaxed guidelines stipulated by the court.

He made the deadline, but still wasn’t following the rules. He’s now been ordered to strip out all of the attachments he has sent that aren’t “opinions, statutes, rules, and regulations.” He’ll also have to get three more copies of the brief made.

Stanford’s new brief is 174 pages, including exhibits and other appendices. His initial brief was 299 pages.

Murray Waas of Vice Media and I reviewed the contents of his initial arguments here. He has until Nov. 6 to make the requested changes. The U.S. government will respond to the brief with an argument of their own for why he’s right where he belongs, before three judges on the 5th Circuit will make a ruling.

 

Allen Stanford’s Revised Appeal can be read here:

 

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


Could Allen Stanford go free? Convicted fraudster appeals

Indicted financier R. Allen Stanford exits the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston, Texas

Indicted financier R. Allen Stanford exits the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston, Texas

Jailed financier R. Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of running a massive global Ponzi scheme that rivals the Madoff scandal, says he is the victim of an illegal prosecution, and “the clearest of assaults on the U.S. Constitution.”

The comments come in Stanford’s formal appeal of his conviction, filed in federal court on Wednesday. Stanford wrote the appeal himself at the prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence. Having fired the last of a string of court-appointed attorneys, and with no funds to hire a replacement, he is representing himself even though he has no legal background. He has also asked to argue his case in person before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, a task normally handled by experienced attorneys.

Stanford calls the case against him a “reckless action,” and accuses authorities of a “by-any-means pursuit” of him to cover up their missteps in the still-unfolding financial crisis.

 

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/


Allen Stanford files 299-page appeal of his 110-year sentence

Allen Stanford was convicted in 2012 on 13 felony charges related to America’s second-largest Ponzi scheme ever.

Allen Stanford was convicted in 2012 on 13 felony charges related to America’s second-largest Ponzi scheme ever.

WASHINGTON — Even tucked away inside a high-security federal prison in Central Florida, former Houston billionaire banker Allen Stanford is still thinking big — and flouting the rules.

Stanford filed a 299-page brief last month with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, making no fewer than 15 lengthy arguments about why he should be set free. He was convicted in 2012 on 13 felony charges related to America’s second-largest Ponzi scheme ever and sentenced to 110 years in prison.

Before being halted by a federal judge in Dallas in 2009, Stanford’s fraud had drawn in more victims than any other investment scheme in American history. There are more than 18,000 outstanding claims from defrauded investors and thousands more under review.

Investors had deposited about $5.5 billion with Stanford, and so far just $72 million has been repaid to investors.

Kevin Sadler, the attorney for Ralph Janvey, the Dallas-based court-appointed receiver, said that nearly 1,400 verified claims totaling $455 million have been filed by investor groups with at least one victim living in Texas. There are 111 claims worth nearly $51 million with ties to Dallas residents.

Stanford’s verbose appeal is his best and probably only chance to die a free man. The court has given him until Monday to file the appeal again, at about half its current length.

Since he fired his court-appointed attorney, Stanford is writing his own appeal. In it, he divides his chief arguments into two broad attacks — that the U.S. didn’t have jurisdiction over his offshore business and that his trial in Houston was bungled.

The charges against him were improper, he writes, since his bank was in Antigua, not the United States, and offered clients certificates of deposit, not “securities” as defined by the U.S. statutes.

“Simply put, Stanford International Bank was regulated by — and only by — Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua and Barbuda,” Stanford writes.

That part of his appeal is based in part on Morrison vs. Australian National Bank, a 2009 Supreme Court decision that ruled that Americans defrauded by the Australian bank couldn’t sue under U.S. law, even though incidental parts of the bank’s operations were in America.

Key question

Yet the high court in the Morrison case held that a key question that determines whether an offshore bank fraud triggers U.S. securities laws is whether it marketed its products to Americans.

“They are going to look at the Houston-based company and determine whether there was enough links between it and the CDs sold by Stanford’s bank in Antigua,” said securities law professor Stavros Gadinis of the University of California at Berkeley.

William J. Carney, professor emeritus of corporate law at Emory University in Atlanta, agreed.

“The difference between the Australian case and Stanford’s is that the Australian company didn’t do business in the U.S. and didn’t offer its securities here,” he said.

Carney said Stanford’s other argument, that the CDs he sold aren’t properly “securities,” has a long history in securities litigation.

“The question of whether CDs are securities is really a closer call,” he said.

Stanford also argues in his appeal that he never got a fair trial, thanks to a series of factors all stemming from a savage beating he took from another inmate just five months after he was placed in a federal detention center.

“This assault resulted in a traumatic brain injury … required extensive reconstructive surgery, and was followed by over-medication of psychotropic drugs,” Stanford writes, describing injuries that prosecutors say he later tried to milk to avoid trial. “All of which, combined, profoundly affected his ability to communicate with his attorneys and prepare his defense.”

Strongest grounds

The beating and all the problems it caused later are probably his strongest grounds for a new trial, said Ali Fazel, who along with his partner Richard Scardino defended Stanford during his seven-week trial.

Before Stanford was indicted in 2009, U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Stanford to prison rather than allowing him to post bond. In court records, Hittner said he considered Stanford — who had traveled to 30 nations and five continents in the previous four years — an exceptional flight risk.

In September of that year, Stanford was badly beaten in prison.

“While sitting in a chair, he was grabbed from behind and fell backwards, hitting the back of his head on the concrete floor resulting in a concussion and loss of consciousness,” his lawyers asserted in a court filing before the trial. Unconscious, he was beaten even more severely. His assailant then smashed Stanford’s face with a steel pole, the filing said.

In 2011, Hittner ruled that Stanford was unfit to stand trial and ordered him sent to a prison medical facility for a four-month treatment. And that delay in the trial grew.

When officials at the facility said Stanford needed another four months of care, Hittner reluctantly delayed the trial until January 2012.

The delays meant further suffering for the victims. Hundreds of millions of dollars remained frozen until the outcome of the trial, which kept getting pushed back.

After Stanford’s eight months of treatment were over, his lawyers asked for yet another postponement, citing testimony from a string of psychiatrists that Stanford was still not competent.

Federal prosecutors pounced. They alleged in court papers that despite his injuries, Stanford’s continued efforts to avoid trial were just one more fraud.

They said Stanford had conveniently claimed to have now forgotten “all his past life events … as well as details of his business and banking operations.”

A psychologist at the facility concluded he was malingering and reported that Stanford performed so poorly on a test he administered that “mentally retarded children do much better.”

Fazel said he and his partner recognized, even at the time, that the handling of the trial would be Stanford’s best grounds for an appeal.

“It’s really a shame that a trained and talented appellate attorney didn’t get their hands on the trial record,” Fazel said. “There were lots of issues preserved in the record that would give a trained appellate lawyer a lot of room to work.”

The victims

The delay cost virtually every single one of Stanford’s fraud victims. The only sizable trove of recovered assets — $300 million worth — had been frozen overseas. Under the law, even those funds could not be distributed to victims until Stanford was convicted and there was a finding of fraud by the court.

Most of that $300 million is still frozen, pending appeal.

“Unquestionably the delays at trial, and now with [Stanford] dragging out his appeal by shuffling through attorneys and filing these overlong briefs, have meant a delay of at least two years — and counting,” said Sadler, the attorney for the receiver.

Beyond the dollars, the human impact of the delay, and of the fraud itself, has been enormous.

Among the victims in Texas: a retired businesswoman who lost $1.3 million, money she was relying on to treat a rare genetic disease that would kill her without a kidney transplant; a retired cattle rancher who lost everything and found himself in and out of a hospital intensive-care unit repeatedly as doctors feared the stress was killing him; and a retired railway man and honored Vietnam veteran who feared that he had no money left to take care of a wife disabled with Parkinson’s.

Mary Oliver and her husband were living in Dallas in late 2007 when they began investing their retirement funds — about $1 million — with Stanford. Like most victims, they’ve recovered less than 1 percent of their losses.

“Allen Stanford ruined the lives of thousands of hard-working, tax-paying investors by stealing their life savings,” Oliver said. “He lied, cheated and stole from innocent victims. He deserves to be in jail for the rest of his life on earth.”

Stanford’s appeal is his best shot at avoiding that fate, but even as he prolongs his case, the thousands of people he defrauded have little prospect of ever being made whole.

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/




APPEALS COURT AGAIN REBUFFS ALLEN STANFORD

stanford2014

Convicted Ponzi schemer/banker R Allen Stanford, who is appealing* his conviction, Pro Se, has filed what he captioned “Motion to the Court for the Appointment of a Qualified Law Clerk.”

Stanford’s initial brief is due on September 16, 2014; He must file it by that date. Stanford, in his motion, which includes legalese that indicates it was most likely ghost written by another inmate, states:

“Stanford’s only remaining concern is that he adheres to, and complies with, any and all of this Court’s requirements on submission. Therefore, he now respectfully requests that this Court appoint a qualified law clerk to review his appeal and make certain that it comports to all requirements.” (Motion at 1-2).”

The Clerk of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals not only did not present this motion to the judges, he promptly sent a terse memorandum to Stanford:

“The Court will take no action on your Motion for Appointment of a Qualified Law Clerk, as this Court does not provide such relief.”

Is he actually asking that the judge have one of his law clerks, who are new attorneys that assist the court in case management, assist him ? This has to be the height of arrogance; Stanford asked to proceed Pro Se, and now he is saying that he cannot handle the appeal. Why don’t some of his friends, business associates, or family get him a lawyer ? Where is all that money ?

Given that any review of the brief would entail experience with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Fifth Circuit Local Rules, and the fundamentals of brief writing, only an appellate attorney, who has experience practicing in the 5th Circuit, would be satisfactory, in my humble opinion. Is Stanford seeking to create grounds for a further appeal, in the event that the one appeal that he has as a matter of right will probably not succeed ? We cannot say, but no Federal Judge is going to create the right to a law clerk in a Pro Se appeal, where none exists in the statutes, or case law.

Stanford is on his last possible extension for the brief, as the Court has already stated that “no further enlargements [extensions of time] will be given.” Furthermore, his request to file a brief in excess of the page limit has been denied. The wheels of justice are about to move forward in his case, whether he likes it or not.

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/