SEC charges two Stanford accountants

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two accountants in its
case against cricket-loving billionaire Sir Allen Stanford’s alleged
(£4.9bn) Ponzi scheme.

The regulator also alleges that the head of Antigua’s Financial Services
Regulatory Commission helped Stanford run his scheme for at least a decade, by
conducting fake audits of Sir Allen’s company records.

The SEC alleges Mark Kuhrt and Gilberto Lopez, accountants for
Stanford-affiliated companies, fabricated financial statements to ‘give
investors the false illusion that their investments were solid, safe and
secure,’ the watchdog said.

Stanford International is alleged to have conducted a Ponzi scheme which
repaid investors using funds of other clients and not from returns generated by
certificates of deposit.

Lopez worked in Stanford Financial Group’s Houston office as the chief
accounting officer of SFG and its affiliate, Stanford Financial Group Global

He provided accounting services to many entities under Stanford’s control,
including Stanford International Bank, SFG and SFGGM.

Kuhrt was the global controller for SFGGM, the SEC said. He also provided
accounting services to many entities under Stanford’s control, including SIB,
SFG, and SFGGM. Neither Lopez nor Kuhrt is a certified public accountant, the
SEC added.

The SEC also charged Leroy King, the administrator and chief executive
officer of Antigua’s Financial Services Regulatory Commission, for allegedly
accepting thousands of dollars per month in bribes to ignore the Stanford Ponzi
scheme and supply Stanford himself with confidential information about the SEC’s

King obstructed the SEC’s case in 2005, when its investigation into Stanford
began, the regulator said.

‘Instead of buying the safe and sound investments he promised his clients,
Stanford bought Antigua’s top securities cop,’ said Robert Khuzami, director of
the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

‘While Stanford quarterbacked his massive Ponzi scheme, he paid the referee
to spy on the huddles and provide an insider’s play-by-play of the SEC’s
investigation,’ he added.

Rose Romero, Regional Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office,
added, ‘Phony financial statements, fabricated performance numbers, and sham
audits are at the heart of Stanford’s fraudulent scheme that swindled billions
of dollars from investors worldwide. King, Kurht and Lopez abused their
expertise and positions of authority to help make it all possible.’

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