n The Texas billionaire asks a judge to unfreeze funds so he can hire a lawyer.
The Associated Press
HOUSTON – Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford, accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a massive Ponzi scheme, has denied wrongdoing and asked a federal judge to free up some of his money so he can hire a lawyer.
The SEC brought civil charges against Stanford and the top officers of the Stanford Financial Group in February, saying they were involved in an $8 billion fraud where investors were lied to about the safety of investments sold as certificates of deposit and promised unrealistically high rates of return. The executives include Chief Financial Officer James M. Davis and Chief Investment Officer Laura Pengergest-Holt, both of Baldwyn.
The Houston Chronicle reported for its Wednesday editions that Stanford repeatedly denied the SEC’s allegations without elaboration in his filing with a federal court in Dallas.
Stanford sent his response via certified mail to the SEC office in Fort Worth last week. It was made public Tuesday. The filing was not immediately available on the federal court’s online database.
He filed the answer without a lawyer because he said he hadn’t been able to hire one since his assets and money have been seized.
Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, who has talked with Stanford about representing him, told the newspaper that Stanford needed to get some response on the record in the SEC case, even if it was only a general denial.
“This is a massive case with lots of facts,” DeGuerin said. “When the injunction was signed he wasn’t present and didn’t have notice that the lawyer who made an appearance (for him) was going to withdraw.”
DeGuerin said there is a precedent for legal fees to be set aside.
“It’s simply wrong to take everything from someone and say: ‘Now, defend yourself,’”‘ he said.