Federal regulators filed a complaint in Dallas federal court today against billionaire R. Allen Stanford and three of his companies, including Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, alleging "massive fraud" in promising unreasonably high rates of return on $8 billion worth of CDs sold by the bank. The judge has entered a temporary restraining order and has frozen Stanford’s assets.
"We are alleging a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world," said the SEC’s director in Fort Worth, TX. Most of the subpoenaed company witnesses, including Stanford, either failed to appear or could not account for the $8 billion in assets claimed to be housed in the bank.
Earlier reports suggested that the bank had laid off significant numbers of employees, weeks after Stanford paid $20 million in prize money to the winners of a single cricket match at which he arrived in a gold-plated helicopter.
Stanford International Bank is the primary shareholder of Health Systems Solutions Inc, which last week backed out of its plans to acquire imaging vendor Emageon for $62 million after Stanford International declined to provide financing. HSS paid $9 million in escrowed money to Emageon for failing to complete the transaction.