PATSY BRUMFIELD: Stanford scam issues still sting

PATSY BRUMFIELD

PATSY BRUMFIELD

White-collar scandals may fade from the public’s eyes as media folks forget about them.

But the victims of these crimes do not.

Often, I marvel at new information about the R. Allen Stanford financial scandal, which cut so deeply for scores of Mississippians among more than 20,000 victims worldwide.

Some of them are our neighbors. They have yet to see much or anything of a return on their $7 billion losses from playboy Stanford’s lavish spending out of his Caribbean-based cookie jar he called a bank.

This past weekend, I came across someone else who felt the landslide.

Henrik Stenson won the PGA Tour Championship and captured the FedEx Cup, bringing in $11.44 million from the crowning achievement of his golf career.

That pretty much makes up for the $7 million he lost when the Stanford empire crashed in 2009.

Along with the crash of his own financial life, the Swede dropped from the world’s No. 4 golfer to No. 230.

Now, he’s on the top of his game and back playing the long-hitting golf that saw him win two Ryder Cup caps.

“It shows that I never give up,” he said. “This is way beyond what I could have imagined.”

The ordinary folks who lost everything aren’t quite like Stenson, who through a skill can win big on any given weekend.

But all the victims can hope for justice.

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether they can use state law to sue the financial advisers who helped sell Stanford’s bogus certificates of deposit. Mind you, the few ex-advisers who’ve said anything since 2009 insist they did not know they were promoting a Ponzi scheme.

A no-vote from the justices will mean the victims will be forced to drop their recovery lawsuits in federal court.

Several of these lawsuits were filed in North Mississippi, although the consolidated case before the Supreme Court comes out of Dallas, Texas.

It’s a difficult case, the experts say, but solid precedent backs the victims.

If they lose, pursuing those who aided securities fraud could become almost impossible.

Meanwhile, only the top five leaders of the Stanford scheme have paid for their sins.

Two of them – Laura Pendergest-Holt and James M. Davis – are more familiar because they once lived in our midst.

Holt will complete her prison time early in 2015. Davis can look forward to his release near Easter two years later.

As for Stanford, he continues to mark each day in a high-security Florida facility knowing he’s got another 92 years to go.

Any chance of his seeing the free light of day would be quite a resurrection.

Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.

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