U.S.: Restitution impractical for Stanford victims
(Reuters) - The government said it would be "impracticable" to enforce an order of restitution against financier Allen Stanford to victims of his estimated $7 billion Ponzi scheme and that it should be permitted to compensate fraud victims with forfeited assets.
In a Monday filing with the federal court in Houston, the Department of Justice said the large number of victims, the difficulty of calculating their losses and the freezing of Stanford's assets in various jurisdictions would make restitution difficult.
A federal jury on March 6 convicted Stanford, 62, on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges over what prosecutors called the sale of bogus certificates of deposit from his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
Stanford is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14 and could spend the rest of his life in prison. The jury also found that federal authorities should try to seize $330 million of frozen funds that Stanford stashed in 29 foreign bank accounts.
Once considered a billionaire, Stanford later claimed to be indigent.
The Justice Department said restitution would be complicated because customer accounts were credited with $1.3 billion of interest that was not paid and some customers but not others withdrew "fictitious" interest or principal from their accounts.
It said it has agreed in principle with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on a joint distribution process.
The Justice Department also said a receiver winding down parts of Stanford's business will to ensure fairness try to calculate "net" amounts lost by each investor. Such an approach is also being used in the winding down of Bernard Madoff's firm.
The case is U.S. v. Stanford, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 09-cr-00342.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Andre Grenon)
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