martes, 27 de noviembre de 2012

18-year-old Stanford Victim Dies


COALICION VICTIMAS DE STANFORD AMERICA LATINA (COViSAL)

An Open Letter to the Authorities responsible for the Stanford Case:
18-year-old Stanford victim dies.


November 27, 2012

Dear Sirs,

We, victims of the fraud perpetrated by R. Allen Stanford and his accomplices, are gathering to defend our rights through the Coalición Víctimas de Stanford (COViSAL), and respectfully address you to demand justice.

Almost four years have passed since the Stanford’s debacle destroyed the lives of thousands of innocent families around the world. So far, the only beneficiaries are the attorneys and their professionals managing the receivership and the liquidation – receiving more than $150 million in fees and expenses – while the victims have received zero economic relief.

Latin American victims are the largest defrauded group; 15,270 families, representing 70.24% of depositors with more than $4 billion in losses who entrusted their savings to a company belonging to an American conglomerate regulated, and supervised by the U.S. Regulatory Agencies. The majority of Stanford’s victims are modest people; families with children or teenagers with special needs. Many are elderly, ill or close to retirement; unable to pay for their critical medical treatments and living expenses. Our fourth Christmas is approaching, and we have not received any distribution of our stolen savings. This is a long time for the thousands of victims who are immersed in agony and desperation because of their loss. Many continue to die while waiting in vain for even a small portion of their savings to be returned in time for life-saving operations, or treatment of cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. Latin American victims feel ignored and discriminated against.

COViSAL regularly receives emails and phone calls from desperate families asking for help. I am enclosing the following heart-breaking letter:

“My youngest son, Luis, was diagnosed with a congenital aortic stenosis. Since he was born, we treated him at the Texas Children Hospital in Houston. We were always confident that when the time came to operate our beloved son, we could do it at the Texas Children’s Hospital, and would pay for it with our savings deposited at Stanford. Luis was 18 years-old, and just graduated from high school. He was getting ready to start college to study veterinary. Now, the operation was necessary to correct his cardiac insufficiency because he was getting tired a lot. We requested a cost estimate to the Texas Children’s Hospital for his operation. It was in the order of $250,000. Because of this, on August 25, 2011, I wrote a letter to the Joint Liquidators, Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson explaining my situation.  I enclosed my son's medical exams and the hospital's cost estimate for the operation. The only response that I received was: ‘Dear Customer, we are very sorry to know that you are confronting that difficult situation. Unfortunately, at this juncture of the Liquidation, it is not possible to estimate the time or what amount of the funds would be available to distribute to creditors. More details about the advances of the liquidation process will be available in due time and published in the Website of the Liquidators: http://www.sibliquidation.com/news/.  Creditors must monitor the site for information. Sincerely, in representation of Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson, Joint Liquidators.’

In view of this response, and because my beloved son needed the operation, I decided to operate him in Caracas, Venezuela. I am thankful for the excellent support from doctors, the clinic and the disinterested help from the Fundación de Todo Corazón Richard Gibson. On September 27, 2011, my son was operated. He came out perfectly from the surgery. We paid for it with the scarce funds we had, our credit cards, and the help of our family.  

My family and me were so happy to see our son healthy. The world was filled with joy. Luis was very excited and optimistic about starting his college career in veterinary. Animals and all pets were his primary interest and dream. As a matter of fact, after Carnival Tuesday, Luis went to the university on Wednesday, February 23, 2012 to pick up all the requirements for his college registration in the field that he selected as first option in his college application, Veterinary. I was truly thankful to God because my kid was so full of hope and promise for the future. We did not care about the debt we had with our credit cards, and with our beloved family. On February 23, 2012, at 6:30 p.m., Luis and his older brother went to a routine swimming practice, supervised by a trainer. Unfortunately, our son Luis died during the practice. It seems that he suffered a heart attack. We do not know exactly what happened to him. We decided against an autopsy; now for what, if they weren’t going to revive my beloved son.

I often asked myself, if we’d had our savings deposited at Stanford International Bank available, we could have operated him at the Texas Children Hospital, with the cardiologists who treated him since he was a child; maybe, my son would be alive today. However, because of the robbery committed by Allen Stanford and his directors, our beloved son Luis is no longer with us. For that reason, I hold, R. Allen Stanford, his directors and abettors, also the Joint Liquidators, Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson, and the British company Grant Thornton, responsible.”

There are many more heart-breaking stories of families in Latin America and other countries suffering a great deal as a result of this horrendous fraud. However the saga drags on for the Stanford’s victims. Litigation and delays of an agreement between the Joint Liquidators (JLs) and the U.S. Receiver (which could otherwise speed up the first distribution of the available money) continue to generate fees for them, their attorneys and their professionals with total disregard, and complete indifference for the victims' pain and suffering –many poor and abandoned.

Three months have passed since the Summit in Washington, D.C., mediated by the Department of Justice (DOJ), took place. The goal was to reach a global resolution to put an end to the current disputes among the aligned parties in the Stanford case. Their main objective: to assist the victims of the Stanford fraud. Other meetings were held at later dates, and an agreement has not been reached yet. We ask: What is happening at the negotiations? Why is it so hard to reach an agreement? Is it the money…? The $330 million? What actions are being taken that consider the best interest of the victims? What is being done to maximize our recovery in the shortest time possible? Why continue to disregard the fact that this crime is causing victims to die by the continued delay of any restitution of their stolen money? We ask for transparency, equity, and the end of self-serving interests.

We appreciate the interest and commitment of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in participating in the oversight of the claim's process and the Distribution Plan; and in having a voice in the determination of the reasonableness of total asset recovery charges in order to make sure that the costs of this process are reasonable to preserve the greatest amount of assets for the victims. We want the $330 million of our savings, confiscated in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada, distributed to the victims, holders of CDs from Stanford International Bank, Ltd. (SIBL), in a direct, efficient and economical way; regardless of nationality or location, and without appeals, retention of money for uncertain real estate developments in Antigua, further litigation, more legal fees and expenses, or payments to intermediaries - including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States. These funds are all that remains of our savings and must be returned to the rightful owners. Why do attorneys continue to get rich with the stolen patrimony of the victims? Why continue to misuse what it is left of our savings? Why do innocent families have to assume all the risk?

In many occasions, we have asked the Official Stanford Investors Committee, which supposedly represents all Stanford investors’ interests worldwide in the legal proceeding, to step forward, and to voice our cry and concerns expressed in our communications to the Court, to keep us informed of the advances and recovery efforts, to show us the real picture of the litigation, to update us on the claim's registration process, and to give us a definite date for the first distribution; however, we have not received an official response and continue to wait for clear and concrete answers.

Because of its implications, the Stanford Case is a theme of ethics and morality before the world economies that transcends the financial arena to a political one tainted by the lack of ethics. For this reason we are convinced that if this monstrous fraud (operated with impunity for more than a decade in and from the United States) is not resolved expediently and satisfactorily with equality and equity for all the victims, the worldwide discrediting of the United States for securities' fraud will deepen and the distrust in its financial sector will increase even more. The fairness and balance of the U.S. legal system will be questioned globally in a most grave manner.

On December 21, 2011, at the hearing with the Joint Liquidators and the U.S. Receiver, Judge David Godbey said to the attorneys: “I’m sad to hear the mediation didn’t work; I'm sadder that the money going to this to pay lawyers is not going to compensate the victims.” A year later, after Judge Godbey’s comments, the Stanford’s victims have not received a penny, and the attorneys managing the case continue to get rich with the remnant of our stolen savings. It is time that the victims, of this horrendous crime are taken into account, and receive an immediate distribution of the available assets.

COVISAL hopes that the authorities responsible for the Stanford Case make their principles coincide with their actions and show the world, with concrete and immediate actions, their commitment to honesty, equality and justice. Just like Luis, many people have died for not having their life savings available to pay for life-saving operations. Many families urgently need their money to pay for operations, medical treatments, and living expenses. You must not ignore the cries and suffering of the innocent victims.

We pray to God that without further delay, the rights of the victims will prevail over the judicial manipulations, and good conscience will be the instrument to impart justice.

Stop letting us down.

      
Jaime R. Escalona
On behalf of COViSAL