Stanford Group Co. Investigation

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:47pm

Another investment firm is in hot water, one with customers in Baton Rouge. Jon Fairbanks has the latest in the investigation into Stanford Group. The Securities and Exchange Commission claims Stanford’s owner tried to scam investors out of billions of dollars.

It was anything but business as usual at the Stanford Group Baton Rouge branch. People were being escorted in and out of the offices by security guards. Local employees and clients are reeling from the news that the SEC is investigating the company. Financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of running an $8 billion fraudulent CD investment scheme.

Mark Simmons, VP of BR Anderson explains, “The clients right now can’t get money withdrawals because they are auditing the books more or less so all the trading practices are shut down right now.”

The director of the SEC’s enforcement division says Stanford and a close circle of family and friends preyed on investors by making false promises and fabricating “historical return data.” For clients in a troubled market there is more doubts and more fear.

Wednesday, the SEC raided some of Stanford’s offices but not the Baton Rouge location. CNBC says Stanford unsuccessfully tried to hire a private jet to fly him to Antigua yesterday, which is where his offshore operations are based.

Nobody from the local branch was available for comment on the investigation.