COVISAL VICTIMS' IMPACT STATEMENT - Laura Pendergest-Holt Sentencing


June 25, 2012

The Honorable David Hittner
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
515 Rusk Street, Room 8509
Houston, Texas 77002

                                              Ref. Criminal Case No. H -09-342-2
Honorable Judge Hittner,
We non-US citizens, victims of the fraud perpetrated by R. Allen Stanford and his accomplices, gathered together to defend our rights as the Coalición Víctimas de Stanford América Latina (COViSAL); respectfully address you to present our Victims’ Impact Statement.
COViSAL is an organization in which only account holders of the Certificates of Deposit (CDs) participate. The nature of COVISAL’s work is research, information and dissemination. It was created with the intention to gather all non-US victims, distributed in 112 countries around the world, who represent more than 84.34% of the total Stanford victims. Our objective is to fight for the recovery of our money that was stolen by R. Allen Stanford and his accomplices under the indifferent eye of the regulatory authorities who could have stopped him many years ago.
Of the total Stanford’s victims, 62% are from Latin American countries lacking medical and social security systems to guarantee proper treatments and a dignified retirement. In order to preserve their patrimony from devaluations, high inflation and the arbitrary decisions from their governments, these victims purchased the CDs to ensure a monthly income to cover medical and living expenses.
COViSAL is directed by its founder and leader, Mr. Jaime R. Escalona. We have more than 500 hundreds duly registered members, and over 1,000 non-registered members from the following regions: Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Aruba, Curacao, Suriname, St. Marteen, Belize, the United States, Canada, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa. Our total losses are in the range of several hundreds of millions.
The majority of affected victims are modest people, families with children, some ill or suffering autism and with other special needs that now are unable to pay for their medical treatments. Many are elderly, sick or close to retirement – all desperate because of the devastating economic situation due to the loss of their savings.
More than three (3) years have passed since our life savings were stolen. This is too much time for the thousands of victims who are immersed in endless agony and desperation because they lost their life-savings. Many have become ill as a consequence of their loss, others have already died, and many have developed cancer and other physical and emotional illnesses.
During these tragic years, we, the victims, have sadly watched the possibility of receiving an economic relief that could mitigate our loses begin to vanish in the millions of dollars of professional fees, expenses and useless legal fights between the Joint Liquidators and the U.S. Receiver. Meanwhile, thousands of victims suffer because they are not able to pay for their medical treatments and living expenses.
Ms. Laura Pendergest-Holt, former Chief Investment Officer for Stanford Financial Group (SFG) of Houston, was one of Allen Stanford’s accomplices. Her heartless actions, to deceive and steal the retirement savings belonging to thousands of regular people around the world, were coldly calculated and premeditated with complete disregard for the horrendous consequences.
Ms. Holt originally was charged in 2009 with 21 counts of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction. She deserves the maximum sentence allowed by the law; not a plea deal calling for three years in prison and three years of supervised release, and $250,000 fine for a single count of obstruction in connection to her sworn testimony. Among other things, she was a willing participant who had actual knowledge of the fraud being committed and conspired to defraud investors by selling them $7 billion in CDs issued by Stanford International Bank, and certainly one of her motives was to enrich herself. Her actions as an accomplice of this horrendous crime resulted in the deaths of many people, and the destruction of families’ lives that today continue to suffer the consequences. Ms. Holt, ran free and enjoyed life with the stolen money from thousands of innocent families. She cannot get away with an easy and accommodating plea agreement.
Please, Judge Hittner, do not accept Ms. Pendergest-Holt’s plea agreement, she deserves the full weight of the law for the crimes she committed against the innocent and unaware.
We pray to God that without further hindrance, the rights of the victims will prevail, and conscience will be the instrument to impart justice.
/s/Jaime R. Escalona
Jaime R. Escalona
On behalf of Covisal
Coalición Víctimas de Stanford América Latina (COVISAL)
Twitter: @COVISAL
Texas: (512) 377 6133
Caracas, Venezuela (58 412) 617-2438

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