Allen Stanford spends his days and nights in the Joe Corley Detention Center at Conroe, Texas, nearly 50 miles north of bustling downtown Houston, where he once ruled the roost as financier par excellence.
The former multimillionaire, whose assets were frozen in February, is reduced to filing legal motions through attorneys to force the federal government to pay his legal bills in a sprawling investigation into allegations he and Stanford Financial Group cohorts ran a $7 million Ponzi scheme that cost thousands of investors their life savings and retirement funds.
As 59-year-old Stanford’s high-powered Houston attorney, Dick DeGuerin, sought unsuccessfully last week to get the U.S. District Court to reconsider his client’s detention, more details have come to light about the lifestyle Stanford led before his current difficulties.
Stanford says nearly $20 million of his assets were “appropriated” by the government between February and May 15, including his Houston apartment, his vehicles, his family photographs and his clothing.
He insists it’s the government’s goal to prevent him from being able to mount a defense to the 21-count indictment handed down June 19 in Texas.
Baldwyn’s James Davis and Laura Pendergest-Holt, Stanford executives, also are caught up in this case. Holt pleaded not guilty and is out on bond. Davis’ attorneys say he will plead guilty to separate charges soon, as he cooperates with prosecutors.
Holt and Stanford, who was knighted “Sir” on the Caribbean island of Antigua, face up to 375 years in prison, if convicted of all charges.
Prosecutors, who succeeded in having him declared a substantial flight risk, say Stanford’s primary residence is not in the U.S.
Stanford counters that he is a fifth-generation Texan; was born, raised and educated in Texas; and has centered his career and business operations in Houston since the early 1980s.
Here are some of the hardships Stanford insists have been afflicted upon him since the government shut down his businesses in February:
• He is homeless and was forced to rent an apartment after the government threw him out.
• He expects his wife, with whom he is separated, to be evicted from their home of 24 years.
• His St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, apartment was seized.
• His boat in Antigua was seized.
• The government has sold or is trying to sell all his aircraft.
In seeking to prove he is not a flight risk, Stanford insists his recent travels were not unusual or suspicious, and that he does not have international friends who would help him flee, if he could.
Since February, he reports his only travels to be between Houston and the Washington, D.C., area to meet with his lawyers, to Florida for family visits and a birthday trip to Las Vegas paid by his fiance’, Andrea Stoelker.
Since 2005, but before his arrest, Stanford’s U.S. passport logged travel to more than 30 countries on five continents. But he says some stops were to refuel his airplane and some times he wasn’t even on board.
As for allegations that $100 million went “missing” from Stanford’s Swiss bank account 108731, he claims it was used as security for business loans, such as $94 million to buy Banco Galicia in Venezuela (re-named Stanford Bank Venezuela), a 14-story office building in Caracas and to open 14 branch offices for the bank.
Rather than missing, the $100 million was used to repay the Swiss bank loans, Stanford says.
He also asked the court to demand that statements from Davis confirm the transactions.
The government alleges Stanford has lived outside the U.S. for at least the past 15 years.
Stanford counters that he and his wife own a residence in the Tanglewood area of Houston, and for the past 10 years he has maintained an apartment residence either at the Sugar Land hangar or the Stanford Lofts in downtown.
He lists his residential cities of permanent residence as Houston, 1985-1997; Houston and Miami, 1998-2005; Houston, Miami and St. Croix, 2006; and Houston and St. Croix, 2007-2008.
And he lists more than a dozen close family members or in-laws who live in Texas. A footnote states that his son, Reid, is moving to Houston to be near his father and will finish his senior year in high school there.
He states the Stanford family is committed to fighting his battle together, noting his children, Ross and Allena, with their mother, Louise Sage, have moved from Dallas to Houston into the same apartment building as his.
He claims a “significant presence” in the Houston business community since the early 1980s, acquiring numerous multi-famiy properties facing foreclosure or bankruptcy or were being sold by financially stressed developers. He cites building the first high-end townhouse community, Stanford Oaks in Houston, as well as Stanford Lofts and Le Vissionage, a luxury townhouse development inside The Loop.
He lists 19 Houston organizations slated for his charitable contributions in 2008, including the famed Cattle Baron’s Ball.
In fact, Stanford says, the court should consider that he tried several times, through counsel, to voluntarily surrender after he was indicted.
Attorney DeGuerin also says the government hasn’t shown that home confinement and electronic monitoring won’t be as effective as jail in keeping tabs on Stanford.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or email@example.com.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal