At the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, on February 17, 2009, United States District Judge David Godbey in Dallas issued the first of many orders which, in effect, seized Stanford Financial Group and placed it in a receivership. Thus began a lengthy civil case concerning the assets of the organization, which included various insurance policies. At the time, all civil suits against Allen Stanford himself, or against his employees, were stopped, as well as certain satellite claims against third parties. It is estimated that the firm had 30,000 clients in 136 countries with about $8.5 billion invested.
In Houston, federal criminal charges were thereafter filed against Allen Stanford and other top executives. Later, James Davis pleaded guilty, and he testified in the government’s case against Allen Stanford. On March 6, 2012, a verdict was returned in the criminal trial finding Allen Stanford guilty on thirteen of fourteen charges. Sentencing is set for later this year, and Allen Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Meanwhile, the federal civil case in Dallas continued. It involves numerous complicated issues of international and bankruptcy law. Some of the investors appealed Judge Godbey’s order that prohibited them from pursuing state law claims or a class action against various third parties. Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Judge Godbey’s order in part; the ruling will allow class actions and state law claims against companies and individuals other than Stanford Financial Group to proceed.