SEC and SIPC Go to Court Over Whether SIPA Protects Stanford Ponzi Fraud Investors

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is asking District Judge Robert Wilkins to make the federal Securities Investor Protection Corp. set up a claims process for the Ponzi fraud victims of R. Allen Stanford. These investors had purchased $7.2B in certificates of deposit that allegedly ended up being bogus. The SEC is suing SIPC in an attempt to get it to pay Stanford’s investors for their losses.

SIPC is a nonprofit corporation that gets its funding from the brokerage industry. It is supposed to insure clients against losses resulting from broker theft.

The Commission contends that per the Security Investor Protection Act’s Section 16(b), these investors are protected because the money they deposited at Stanford International Bank Ltd. in Antigua to buy the CD’s was considered to have been deposited with Stanford Group Co., which is a SIPC member. The Commission wants the nonprofit corporation, to begin liquidation proceedings in federal court in Texas.

More than $1B in securities fraud claims from thousands of claimants related to the Stanford Ponzi fraud would likely be filed if the judge were to approve the SEC’s request.

The issue here is whether the clients who were victimized by the Stanford Ponzi scam are eligible to have SIPC cover the losses they sustained. SIPC says no. The group doesn’t believe that the Stanford Investments meets the criteria set up by federal law over who can qualify for payouts from such losses.

Attorneys for SIPC claims that the SEC is trying to set up a liquidation proceeding without there having to be a judicial review regarding whether the law would consider Stanford’s investors “customers.” SIPC wants the judge to order the SEC to refile its complaint, allow for discovery, and then determine this point.

Meantime, Stanford’s criminal trial is underway in Texas. Prosecutors are accusing him of bilking investors by getting them to invest in $7B in fake CDs while he used their funds to support his business and pay for an extravagant lifestyle. Stanford has denied any wrongdoing.

At his trial last week, former Stanford Financial Group Co. CFO James M. Davis testified against Stanford. Davis’s testimony against Stanford is part of the plea deal that he struck. Not only was Stanford Davis’s former boss, but also the two were once roommates at Baylor University.

According to Davis, Stanford told executives to falsify investment returns and that his boss threatened to terminate their employment if they ever reported that he borrowed over $2B from his Antigua bank to pay for his extravagant quality of life. Davis, who pleaded guilty to helping Stanford defraud investors, is facing up to three decades behind bars.

SEC Asks Federal Judge to Order SIPC Payout Plan for Stanford Investors, Bloomberg, January 24, 2012
SEC Suit Pursues Payouts by SIPC, Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2011
Allen Stanford Was ‘Chief Faker,’ Ex-Finance Chief Testifies, Bloomberg, February 6, 2012

More Blog Posts:
Jury Trial Begins in Ponzi Scammer Allen Stanford’s Criminal Case, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 23, 2012

SEC Sues SIPC Over R. Allen Stanford Ponzi Payouts, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 20, 2011
SEC Issues Emergency Order to Stop $26M “Green” Ponzi Scam, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, October 13, 2011
Our stockbroker fraud lawyers represent investors of Allen Stanford, Bernie Madoff, and other Ponzi fraudsters. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP today.