HOUSTON (Reuters) - Allen Stanford, the billionaire Texan accused of an $8 billion fraud by U.S. regulators, expects to be indicted by a federal grand jury in the next two weeks, according to an ABC News interview released on Monday.
Stanford, whom ABC said cried during the interview, also denied running a Ponzi scheme. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against Stanford, two of his top aides and three of his companies of a long-running Ponzi scheme using high-yield certificates of deposit issued by his bank in Antigua.
“I would die and go to hell if it’s a Ponzi scheme,” Stanford told the television network in an interview that took place late last week in Houston. “If it was a Ponzi scheme, why are they finding billions and billions of dollars all over the place?”
In a Ponzi scheme, early investors are paid returns from funds with later investors.
Stanford, a high-flying sports patron with luxury homes in the Caribbean, Texas and Florida, told a federal court in Dallas he has been unable to hire an attorney to represent him because his accounts have been frozen by a court-appointed attorney.
He has been in talks with well-known Houston criminal lawyer Dick DeGuerin to put together a team to handle the civil and possible criminal charges, DeGuerin told Reuters last month.
Stanford clients are battling in courts as well. Investors who have $1.7 billion in funds frozen by a court-appointed attorney in the Stanford Group Co fraud case asked an appeals court on Monday to release their accounts.
Ralph Janvey, an attorney appointed to oversee the operations of Stanford, has frozen many accounts he believes are linked to the fraud in a bid to preserve assets for investors.
In court papers filed on Monday, Janvey said he has released 28,000 accounts, or 80 percent of the Stanford accounts and allowing investors to intervene in the case will be disruptive.
Still, investors who are barred from their accounts are angry.
“The seizure of the property of petitioners and other account holders without due process of law is a deprivation of fundamental rights that requires emergency relief,” lawyers for the investors said in papers filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Stanford’s civil case can be found in U.S. District Court in Dallas, case number 3:09-cv-298. The investors motion, filed in New Orleans, is case number 09-10325.
Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing Bernard Orr and Andre Grenon