Receiver sues Stanford employees for $11 million

LOS ANGELES Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:30pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The receiver overseeing the assets of accused swindler Allen Stanford has sued two former Stanford Capital Management employees, seeking the return of $11 million in investor funds, court documents showed.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in Dallas federal court, accuses Stanford and his co-defendants in an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme of transferring the funds of defrauded investors to Christopher Aitken and Stephen Thacker to hide it from creditors.

Aitken and Thacker, who received the funds when they joined the firm in November of 2008, were employed for only three months and left "no indication that they provided any meaningful services," the lawsuit said.

Aitken received $8.7 million and Thacker $2.6 million as a partial payment for "personal goodwill" or the "personal relationships (they) have developed and maintained with clients," the suit said.

Ralph Janvey, the receiver in the case, says the men have no legitimate claim to the funds, which must be returned to help make victims of the fraud whole.

Lawyers for Aitken and Thacker could not be located immediately for comment. Stanford's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Janvey asked the judge to seize the funds and hold them in a trust while his investigation is under way.

Stanford, 59, and his former top aides James Davis and Laura Pendergest-Holt are accused of selling fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by Stanford's offshore bank, and of bribing regulators and accountants in Antigua to ignore the alleged wrongdoing.

Davis, Stanford Financial Group's former chief financial officer, has pleaded guilty to his role in the alleged scheme. Stanford and Pendergest-Holt, Stanford Financial Group's former chief investment officer, have pleaded not guilty.

Three others were also charged and pleaded not guilty.

Stanford, whose fortune was estimated at $2.2 billion by Forbes magazine in 2008, is jailed in Houston awaiting trial.

The case is Janvey v. Aitken, Case No. 09-1946, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.

(Reporting by Gina Keating)

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