What's next for Allen Stanford?

February 19, 2009 9:10:28 PM PST
Allen Stanford faces allegations of defrauding customers of $8 billion. One local Houston attorney said Stanford has a long road ahead of him.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

From Houston to Washington the investigation of Stanford crosses state lines and beyond.

The 58-year-old billionaire met with prosecutors at the Department of Justice in Washington and surrendered his passport Thursday morning. It was a signal to try and assure federal investigators he doesn't plan on leaving the country.

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, the FBI served him with papers just before 2pm and near Houston, the SEC began to seize symbols of his wealth. That list included six luxury jets his company owns at a hangar near Sugar Land and his 120-foot yacht in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dan Cogdell, a Houston defense attorney who has worked on cases involving financial crimes including Enron, said, "He's got a long, bumpy, uphill climb ahead of him. It's not a fight that's going to be easy, swift, or economical."

Cogdell said in light of the financial climate and the recent Bernard Madoff case, the SEC is under tremendous pressure.

"They're gonna shoot first and ask questions later. He will be charged quickly, he will be charged aggressively and he will be vigorously prosecuted," said Cogdell.

In just a few short days, Allen Stanford has become a household name. The reaction was harsh from people simply walking down the street.

"We have so many people struggling, getting house loans and then there are guys running off with money. It's just unbelievable people could live with themselves acting like that," said Houston resident Ty Prestidge.

Stanford's Galleria-area office is now a focal point after federal investigators raided his offices following an SEC complaint of $8 billion in financial fraud.

"The first advice I'd give to Mr. Stanford is get back to Houston as quickly as possible, hold a meeting with your employees to try to explain to them what's going on. Then hold a press conference and try to ensure your investors that you haven't run to Antigua and you aren't going to run to Antigua," said Cogdell.

Stanford's assets have been frozen from Houston to as far away as Venezuela. A federal judge has appointed a receiver to identify and protect those assets.

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