Houston we have a problem. Yesterday I had the tv on our local ABC channel as they broke in with the news that Federal Marshalls had raided offices of yet another investment cheat. R. Allen Stanford was no where to be found. He had apparently bilked possibly 50,000 investors of $8 billion. Oops! Inquiring minds want to know.
U.S. Marshals seized control of the offices yesterday, and SEC investigators are claiming Stanford and his close associates defrauded tens of thousands of investors out of billions of dollars, persuading them to invest in seemingly safe CDs -- certificates of deposits -- but faking double-digit returns.
In December, two former employees of the Houston-based firm left Stanford and filed a lawsuit, saying they were forced to resign once they discovered the financial impropriety.
The civil lawsuit, filed by former employees D. Mark Tidwell and Charles Rawl, alleges, "Rawl and Tidwell repeatedly asked Stanford management to change Stanford's business practices. Stanford refused to cease its illegal activity." The two left the financial firm.
Stanford also operates out of the Caribbean island of Antigua. No doubt authorities are also searching for him there.
The Houston offices remain closed today. The SEC plans on an update in the next 24 hours as to the operations there.
The Prime Minister of Antigua has said the Stanford situation could be "catastrophic" for his nation.
Of course now he has disappeared. Come out, come out where ever you are... Of course this brings up questions about why people would invest with him. One man invested $10 million. One woman invested half her inheritance there. Now the SEC and the FBI are looking for him. I thought the SEC was supposed to watch out for stuff like this?
Of course these days it should remind us all that we need to check and double check our plans for investments. It could all be gone in a flash.