The Securities and Exchange Commission and one its former officials, Spencer Barasch, were sued Thursday for negligence and misconduct by Baton Rouge attorney Edward Gonzales on behalf of nine Lafayette area investors who lost money in Allen Stanford's alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme.
According to Gonzales, and as many as 50 plaintiffs are expected to join the suit, Robert J. Dartez LLC, et al v. the United States of America, filed in federal court in Dallas. “The others will be added as their six-month waiting periods [from date of filing an administrative claim] pass,” he says. The nine local clients are seeking almost $19 million, but Gonzales says his clients lost as much as $66 million in the alleged fraud.
Barasch, now a partner at the Dallas law firm Andrews Kurth, worked for the Fort Worth office of the SEC, at one time serving as head of its enforcement program. The suit alleges that it was under his watch that Allen Stanford swindled billions out of investors. Stanford, 61, remains in jail awaiting trial on criminal charges. He denies any wrongdoing.
About a year ago, an SEC inspector general’s 151-page report held Barasch up as a poster child for an agency now established to have missed one of the biggest investor scams of all time. The report found that for years he looked the other way on Stanford’s behalf. The suit cites the IG report, which noted other improper acts by Barasch, saying that he “sought to represent Stanford on three separate occasions … and represented Stanford briefly in 2006 before he was informed by the SEC Ethics Office that it was improper to do so.”
According to the suit, “[Stanford International Bank] and its affiliated or related companies, including Stanford Group Company (SFG), were known at all times material by the SEC to be participants in a massive Ponzi scheme, and the SEC, which has a mandate to protect the public interest, in this case had both the authority and the duty to put an end to this scheme.” If not for the "negligent acts and omissions, misconduct, and breaches of duty by Barasch and his SEC supervisors," and other “inexcusable” acts of negligence by SEC employees, his clients would not have lost their investments, Gonzales claims in the suit.
The Lafayette plaintiffs listed in the suit and the investments they are seeking to recover:
•Robert Juan Dartez LLC, $638,000
•David B. Sturlese, $696,000
•Cynthia R. Dore (who also resides in Houston), $3.09 million
•Randolph J. Hebert, $7.2 million
The other local plaintiffs are:
•Robert Hollier of Opelousas, $4.8 million
•Hollam Pinnacle Group LLC of Opelousas, $571,000
•Michael R. Robicheaux and Cheryl T. Robicheaux of Breaux Bridge, $1.6 million
•Brittany Robicheaux of Breaux Bridge, $52,000
View the suit here.
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.
Noted architect and co-founder/principal of Architects Southwest receives highest honor given to former student.
Know an innovator, job creator and visionary with a penchant for hard work? We want to know that person.
If you care about the wellbeing of Louisiana’s college students, vote against Amendments 1 and 2.
A Mandeville media consultant with big name political connections pleaded guilty Monday to a series of federal mail fraud charges.
Despite a decline in global oil prices affecting the outlook for domestic ethylene producers, South African company moves forward.
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
Economist Loren Scott says Louisiana is in the midst of an industrial boom unlike any other in its history, with more than $100 billion in industrial projects either under construction or in the engineering and design phase.
The Louisiana Treasury holds $18 million in Israel Bonds — bonds that earn 2.868 percent when the three-year U.S. Treasury is yielding 1.08 percent.
ABiz celebrates another class of Acadiana's most influential female trailblazers, the Lourdes Foundation honors a local philanthropist and MedExpress in Opelousas celebrates its 22nd year as the “little ambulance service that could.”
Is Louisiana’s O&G industry ready to head south of the border?
Downtown’s newest live-work space for creatives doubles as a gallery for other upcoming artists to show their work.
A maritime case originating in Lafayette federal court could become a game changer for the oil and gas industry.
Here’s what’s at stake in the November Senate race — regardless of whether Republicans gain control of the upper chamber.
From the publisher’s in-box: ABiz reaches out to Lake Charles, time to “Come Home, Louisiana,” and now accepting nominations for Entrepreneur of the Year.