PALO ALTO, February 17, 2015 - Almost six years to the day after a Federal judge appointed Ralph Janvey to take over Allen Stanford’s sprawling, world-wide business known as Stanford Financial Group, a business that turned out to be the second largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, Baker Botts attorneys won the first in a string of trials seeking to “clawback” hundreds of millions of dollars from those fortunate enough to profit from their time with Stanford. Stanford’s Ponzi scheme, which involved sales world-wide of worthless certificates of deposit issued by his off-shore bank, resulted in billions of dollars in losses to more than 18,000 victims.
A seven-member jury took less than 3 hours to find that Peter Romero, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador and a former Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, will need to turn over to the receiver for Stanford’s companies and victims more than $700,000 he was paid by persons that were part of the global scheme.
During the week-long trial, attorneys from Baker Botts LLP accused Romero of profiting both directly and indirectly from his connection with Stanford, grossing money as a member of Stanford’s International Advisory Board and allegedly endorsing the Stanford CDs to Latin American countries where he was held in high regards.
The verdict is a “significant milestone” for other Stanford-related cases, said Kevin Sadler, a partner at Baker Botts L.L.P., and attorney for the court-appointed receiver, Ralph Janvey.
Sadler continued, “I have successfully tried many cases in my career, but this win was particularly important. The stakes were very high with this first suit, as cases like this one present the victims’ best chance to realize any significant compensation for their losses.”
Baker Botts L.L.P. and Janvey have filed more than 60 lawsuits against 1,385 defendants in an attempt to return some of the lost money. A trial against the former Houston mayor and Clinton Administration drug czar Lee Brown is scheduled for later this year, and a trial against former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes is slated for March.
In 2012, Stanford was convicted of siphoning off $7 billion in investor funds through fraudulent CDs issued by Stanford International Bank Ltd. based in Antigua. In total, he scammed 18,000 people out of their life savings, more than ten times the number of Madoff victims. Once listed by Forbes as the 205th richest American, Stanford is now serving a 110-year sentence in federal prison.
The Official Stanford Investors Committee is represented by Peter Morgenstern of Butzel Long PC. Romero is represented by Pat Long of Squire Patton Boggs as well as Lawrence Bowman and Brian Clark of Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC.
The case is Janvey et al. v. Romero, case number 3:11-cv-00297, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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