Pendergest-Holt is Stanford's chief investment officer and the first person to face criminal charges in the case.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Stanford and his top executives of conducting an $8 billion fraud by advising clients to buy certificates of deposit at the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.
If convicted on both counts, she faces up to 10 years in prison, $500,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Stanford's CEO James Davis, also of Baldwyn, apparently is trying to work out a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issued a statement predicting the indictment will not slow the pursuit of missing funds from Mississippi-owned Stanford accounts.
"I am encouraged former Stanford Chief Financial Officer James Davis is cooperating with government investigators and is in plea negotiations," Hosemann noted. "His information is key to the further location of missing Stanford assets."
The 11-page indictment, issued Tuesday by a grand jury in Houston, accuses the 35-year-old Pendergest-Holt of blocking a SEC investigation of Stanford's financial dealings.
Her attorney, Dan Cogdell of Houston, told the Houston Chronicle he looks forward to trying the case as soon as possible.
"We are grateful that we will be tried alone," he said. "The fact that we are the sole defendant charged will make it easier for the jury to focus on Laura and only Laura. That is where we want the focus."
Pendergest-Holt reportedly was in Houston on Tuesday to meet with Cogdell.
Another lawyer, Jeff Tillotson, said Pendergest-Holt "will plead not guilty and looks forward to fighting the charges. She was truthful in everything she did and we intend on proving that."
Why no one else was indicted with her wasn't immediately clear, but Stanford has said he expects to be indicted. Davis' attorney has said his client is cooperating with federal investigators.
Pendergest-Holt's indictment comes after a series moves by her attorneys and the government toward formal charges. Feb. 25, she was accused in a sealed complaint by the SEC of obstructing its effort to get to the bottom of the Stanford scandal. She was arrested in Houston two days later and has been free on $300,000 bond.
The state claims from Jan. 21 to Feb. 17, in the Southern District of Texas and elsewhere, Pendergest-Holt conspired to corruptly obstruct the SEC in its investigation of Stanford.
The conspiracy by her "and her conspirators" was aimed at preventing detection of the "ongoing fraud" involving Stanford Financial Group and its offshoot Stanford International Bank Ltd., the indictment reads, including:
- Communications and meetings where they discussed ways to conceal from the SEC the true operations and financial conditions of SIBL.
- False and misleading statements to SEC staff attorneys to persuade them to delay sworn testimony by two company executives.
- Holt's alleged lies about SIBL's investiment portfolio, what she knew about it and her meetings in Miami, Fla., to prepare for her testimony.
In the Miami meeting, prosecutors claim conspirators discussed how to respond to the SEC investigation of SIBL's certificates of deposit, purported to have $8.5 billion in assets.
The government also claims Pendergest-Holt lied when she said she didn't know about the true, far lower, value of the assets backing up the CDs.
The indictment goes into detail with accusations of Pendergest-Holt's "overt acts" to further the conspiracy.