FBI to Stanford Investors: Call Us
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — If you had money invested with Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford's company, Stanford Financial Group, or any of its affiliates in recent years, the FBI wants to talk to you.
In a statement released Monday, the agency said investors may be victims of a multi-billion dollar fraud, and encourages those to submit their names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the FBI.
Investigators are seeking information on amounts invested and losses with Stanford Financial Group or its affiliated companies including Stanford Capital Management, the Stanford Group Co., the Stanford International Bank, the Stanford Trust Co., and the Bank of Antigua.
In addition, agents want to know if investments or losses can be verified with financial statements or about any additional information that may be helpful to their investigation.
The Stanford Financial Group, which provided wealth management services to customers in about 140 countries, is under investigation by both the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has accused Stanford and his finance chief James M. Davis of conducting a "massive Ponzi scheme" through companies they controlled, including Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.
Stanford and Davis misappropriated billions of dollars of investors' money and falsifed the bank's financial statements to conceal the fraud, the agency said in an amended civil complaint filed in federal court last month in Dallas.
The SEC on Feb. 17 brought civil charges against Stanford, Davis and Laura Pendergest-Holt, the chief investment officer for the company, alleging an $8 billion investment fraud in which investors were lied to about the safety of investments sold by the bank as certificates of deposit and promised unrealistically high rates of return.
An attorney representing Stanford has said his client denies the allegations made by the SEC.
FBI agents served Stanford with legal papers last month and he was ordered to surrender his passport, but he has not been charged with a crime.
The FBI set up an email address to gather investors' information at email@example.com and a Web site to gather tips at https://tips.fbi.gov
It also has a victim assistance line at (713) 693-5299 and an address to mail documents: FBI Victim Assistance Program, Post Office Box 924427, Houston, TX 77292-4427.
"The FBI understands the devastating financial, emotional, and physical impact that fraud can have in the lives of individuals and families," said Kathryn Turman, the director of the office for victim assistance, in a statement. "Even when we cannot restore lost funds we can usually provide help, hope, and support as we also work to bring justice to the perpetrators who are suspected of inflicting the damage."
The agency lists several resources on its Web site — http://www.fbi.gov/page2/march09/stanford_030909.html — including fraud victim information, an IRS taxpayer advocate resource and a suicide hotline number.