Stanford turns himself in to FBI

June 22, 2009 9:51:16 AM PDT
Eyewitness News Houston billionaire R. Allen Stanford is in the hands of the FBI after he was arrested Thursday night. A number of news agencies are reporting Stanford is now under indictment for his alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

When we talked with Stanford's attorney, he told us if Stanford was indicted that he would turn himself into authorities. Later Thursday night, he was arrested by the FBI.

While the two federal indictments remained sealed, published reports indicate R. Allen Stanford's name is likely on one of them. Though the Texas billionaire was preparing to turn himself in, the FBI wasted no time arresting him at his girlfriend's house in Virginia.

Four months after FBI agents raided his Galleria-area offices, billionaire R. Allen Stanford is now under arrest. The road to his arrest has been tough for him to witness.

After February's raid, the government froze his assets and even cancelled his credit cards. In May, Stanford Financial Group's Chief Investment Officer Laura Pendergest-Holt was indicted for obstructing an Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

Now, a federal grand jury in Houston returned two more indictments, likely with Stanford's name on it.

It's unclear what those charges are.

"Probably charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, possibly securities fraud for manipulating securities," said Adam Gershwitz, Associate Professor at South Texas College of Law.

It all stems from claims by the SEC that the 58-year-old financier spearheaded an $8 billion Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors who were lured in by unusually high returns.

Eyewitness News sat down with Stanford just weeks ago, where he said an indictment wouldn't surprise him. We asked Stanford how he would plea.

"Not guilty. I'm going to fight this thing with everything in me and I'm going to win," said Stanford at the time.

Gershwitz said the indictment wasn't a surprise.

"I don't think it was a surprise that indictments are coming down. I think he sort of said it as a preventive measure to make it look like the government was after him," he said.

Stanford's Houston-based attorney Dick DeGuerin confirmed earlier Thursday evening that "a warrant had been issued for his arrest" and that Stanford would surrender.

Eyewitness News has since learned that Stanford indeed surrendered to the FBI Thursday night in Virginia.

"Because everybody is watching and he doesn't want to look bad upon being arrested. Defendants would prefer not to do the perp walk," said Gershwitz.

The next step for Stanford is a hearing scheduled for Friday morning.

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