Stanford investors see small recoveries

Court NewsBy Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal

Some investors in convicted tycoon R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme reportedly will find checks in the mail for a small part of what they lost in 2009.

Whether any Mississippi victims fall into the receiving column wasn’t known yet.

More than 22,000 investors worldwide lost their life savings and retirement funds when Stanford’s Texas-based financial empire collapsed under the weight of a federal investigation.

They bought uninsured certificates of deposit through Stanford International Bank Ltd. in the Caribbean. Stanford used the money to fund a string of failed businesses, regulator bribes and his lavish, playboy lifestyle.

British retiree Kate Freeman, who lost $820,000 in the scheme, told The Associated Press that she and other investors continue to be frustrated by the slowness of the recovery process.

“After nearly five years, it’s just the biggest disappointment – isn’t it? – that this is all we’re getting,” Freeman, in her late 50s, said Tuesday in a telephone interview from her home in Antigua.

David Arlington, an attorney for Ralph Janvey, the U.S. court-appointed receiver who is making the initial distribution, said he expects that most of this first allotment of funds – about $1 million – has been disbursed. Most of the remaining $55 million approved to for disbursement will likely go out in the next few months.

“Obviously it’s a huge milestone in this receivership to be able to begin making payments to investors. We’re pleased with the fact that we are doing that,” he said.

Mississippi investors bought their CDs through Stanford offices in Tupelo, Jackson and Memphis.

Returns appear to be about 1 percent of what investors put in.

Stanford, 63, was convicted last year on 13 fraud-related counts and sentenced to 110 years in prison.

Janvey has said additional money collected or will be obtained through lawsuits or other efforts also will be distributed at some point.

While Janvey began distributing funds, liquidators in Antigua announced Tuesday they plan to make their initial distribution by late November or early December.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com