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Banking and Finance

Questions About Stanford's Competency Linger as January 2012 Trial Date Appears Uncertain

A Texas businessman scheduled to stand trial in January 2012 to face charges he orchestrated a $7 billion Ponzi scheme is not competent to stand trial, according to his attorney.  Disgraced financier R. Allen Stanford, 61, has remained in federal custody since his arrest in June 2009, but became addicted to prescription medication following a severe beating at the hands of fellow prison inmates in October 2009.  While he has received extensive medical treatment, his attorneys dispute that he has progressed to a state where he would be found competent to stand trial.  Should questions remain about Stanford's competency, his trial, currently scheduled to begin January 30, 2012, appears likely to be delayed.

In January 2011, United States District Judge David Hittner found Stanford incompetent to stand trial following complications resulting from his injuries including prescription medication addiction.  Doctors testified that Stanford may have suffered brain damage from the beating.  Judge Hittner ordered Stanford to undergo medical treatment at the Bureau of Prisons medical center in Butner, North Carolina.  Coincidentally, several other convicted high-profile Ponzi schemers also call Butner home, including Bernard Madoff and Arthur Nadel.  After apparently completing his treatment earlier this month, Stanford was transferred to a federal detention center in Houston, Texas, where he is being held without bail due to the determination that he is a flight risk.  

While Stanford's attorneys are under a gag order not to discuss his medical condition, one of Stanford's civil lawyers revealed in a court filing earlier this month that Stanford continued to suffer memory loss.  Judge Hittner rebuked the lawyer and barred him from having any contact with Stanford until the completion of the criminal proceeding.  

The receiver appointed to recover assets for defrauded investors, Ralph Janvey, has faced difficulty since his appointment and to date has recovered just pennies on the dollar for victims.  Janvey has insisted that many of the assets sought to compensate investors, including nearly $1 billion outstanding and potentially recoverable, are overseas and obtainable only with a successful prosecution and resolution of the criminal charges.  Janvey recently submitted filings seeking to initiate a claims process to eventually begin distributions to victims.  

For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.

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