Court orders return of Stanford political gifts

By NEMS Daily Journal

DALLAS, Texas – Five Democratic and Republican national political committees must return more than $1.7 million in contributions received from indicted financier R. Allen Stanford to his court-appointed receiver, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas on Thursday awarded final judgment in favor of receiver Ralph Janvey, who is marshaling assets to repay investors allegedly swindled out of more than $7 billion through what the government claims was a Stanford-directed Ponzi scheme.
“Courts adhere to the principle that equality is equity in dealing with the aftermath of an imploded Ponzi scheme,” Godbey wrote in a 61-page ruling. “In disgorging the Stanford defendants’ contributions, the political committees will endure no greater hardship than that suffered by other innocent victims of the Stanford defendants’ Ponzi scheme who must do the same.”
Godbey ordered the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Inc. to return $1,037,347; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Inc., $218,273; the National Republican Congressional Committee, $260,291; the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $90,960; and the Republican National Committee, $140,241. The sums represent the donations the groups got from Stanford, plus prejudgment interest, according to Godbey’s order.
Stanford, 61, denies all wrongdoing in connection with civil and criminal allegations that that he defrauded investors through the sale of bogus certificates of deposit sold by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. He goes on trial Jan. 24 for the criminal charges.
Officials say more than 50,000 investors in Stanford certificates of deposit lost billions when the financial empire collapsed in 2009 under the weight of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
Scores of Mississippians were among those who lost money through Stanford offices in Tupelo, Jackson and Memphis.
“This ruling represents an important victory for the Stanford receivership and the thousands of victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme,” Kevin Sadler, lead attorney for Janvey, said in an e-mail Thursday. “Unfortunately, the political committees waged a costly campaign to thwart the receiver’s efforts to recover the monies they received from the Stanford Ponzi scheme. The receiver will be filing appropriate papers with the court to recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and expenses he was forced to incur in this case.”
Whether the political committees will appeal Godbey’s decision wasn’t immediately clear.