Stanford denies wrongdoing, wants money for lawyer

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 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.

Stanford blamed court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey for not being able to hire an attorney because he said Janvey was responsible for the assets and money being seized. He asked that future filings involving him be sent to J.D. “Bucky” Allshouse, a Houston divorce lawyer who is representing him in his divorce.

Allshouse told the newspaper that he is not representing Stanford in the SEC case.

Stanford also said the SEC complaint should have been filed in Houston instead of Dallas because his home office and one of his homes is in Houston.

DeGuerin said Stanford, a citizen of both the U.S. and Antigua, is staying in Virginia.

The Associated Press