Stanford ex-P.R. aide terms empire 'secretive'

By Daily Journal reports

HOUSTON, Texas – Prosecutors neared the end of their case Monday against fallen financier R. Allen Stanford.
Stanford, 61, is accused of 14 counts of mail and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to defraud certificate of deposit investors through his Stanford International Bank Ltd., in Antigua.
Stanford insists the villain is his former chief financial officer, James M. Davis, who testified about Stanford across four days in the Texas federal courtroom.
Monday, the 15-member jury heard from Lula Rodrigues, a former Stanford public relations specialist, and Robert Martin, a Texas FBI accountant.
Lula Rodriguez, who worked 11 months for Stanford, said she was involved with preparing the company’s annual financial report and reported directly to Davis after her first supervisor, Yolanda Suarez, took an abrupt leave of absence in 2008.
According to The Houston Chronicle, Rodriguez fought back tears on the witness stand.
She said a few months later Stanford called and said she was to report directly to him. She pointed to Stanford in the courtroom.
Rodriguez said her in-house research study showed little industry knowledge about Stanford and questions about the company’s solvency because its auditor wasn’t certified in the U.S.
She described a “secretive” culture at the company and said she learned about Stanford’s $20-million Cricket tournament prize announcement only after London media began to call her about it.
She said her impression was that Stanford’s spending came from his own money, not the bank’s.
She also said she didn’t know that only 10-15 percent of the bank’s money was conservatively managed and didn’t know about a $2 billion loan to Stanford.
Later, Rodriguez said Stanford had her publish reports that he’d made a $1-billion cash infusion into the bank.
Her concerns, she said, were raised by published reports questioning the bank’s stability then a call from the Memphis office that federal agents are at the door.
She told the court she had to use Google to find out the company was being shut down.
Martin said he was brought in to look at Stanford finances in 2010. The company collapsed in mid-2009 under the weight of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
After the government closes its case, the defense will take over with its own witnesses for the trial likely to continue several more weeks.