Stanford denies wrongdoing, wants money for lawyer

HOUSTON – Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford, accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a massive Ponzi scheme, has denied wrongdoing and asked a federal judge to free up some of his money so he can hire a lawyer.

The SEC brought civil charges against Stanford and the top officers of the Stanford Financial Group in February, saying they were involved in an $8 billion fraud where investors were lied to about the safety of investments sold as certificates of deposit and promised unrealistically high rates of return.

Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, who has talked with Stanford about representing him, told the newspaper that Stanford needed to get some response on the record in the SEC case, even if it was only a general denial.

“This is a massive case with lots of facts,” DeGuerin said. “When the injunction was signed he wasn’t present and didn’t have notice that the lawyer who made an appearance (for him) was going to withdraw.”

DeGuerin said there is a precedent for legal fees to be set aside.

“It’s simply wrong to take everything from someone and say: ‘Now, defend yourself,”” he said.

The Associated Press, via The Daily Journal