The funds were frozen under a restraining order issued after the SEC filed a civil complaint alleging investment fraud.
By JEFF CARLTON
The Associated Press
DALLAS – A court-appointed receiver proposed Tuesday to lift a freeze on additional accounts with the troubled financial companies owned by R. Allen Stanford.
The Stanford Financial Group Receivership plans to release most remaining brokerage accounts to their owners, a move that will have to be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in federal district court in Dallas.
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil charges against Stanford and his top officers, alleging a “massive Ponzi scheme.” The SEC said the defendants were involved in an $9.2 billion fraud where investors were lied to about the safety of investments sold by the bank as certificates of deposit and promised unrealistically high rates of return.
Stanford has not been charged with a crime. His attorney has said his client denies the allegations made by the SEC.
Stanford accounts were frozen under a restraining order and Stanford’s companies have been in receivership since the SEC filed its civil complaint. The receiver is Texas attorney Ralph Janvey.
The freeze affected thousands of accounts not tied directly to the alleged fraud and left account holders unable to access money to pay their bills.
More than $250,000
Tuesday’s proposal would affect accounts with at least $250,000 in them, and accounts held by J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp. or managed by Stanford companies. The announcement comes a day after a ruling took effect lifting a freeze on about 12,000 investor accounts valued at $250,000 or less as of Feb. 28.
Janvey will ask the court to exclude accounts if they are associated with activity in Stanford International Bank certificates of deposit. Other accounts that would not be released include those owned by defendants in the civil suit, Stanford shareholders, directors and certain employees; and those that are for the benefit of defendants and Stanford companies.
In a statement, Janvey said he tried to “balance the hardship on account holders of a continued hold on the accounts against the benefits of the hold to the Receivership Estate, considering both the likelihood that the accounts are tainted by fraudulent products or activities and the amount potentially recoverable by the Estate from those accounts if they are tainted.”
In deciding which accounts to release, Janvey said the main factor will be whether there were transactions in the accounts related to Stanford International Bank certificates of deposit.