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.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,961 from the previous week's total of 2,237. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,190 claims.
Hurry, rush to Jersey’s Daiquiris Sports Bar in Broussard for a cold one because at noon tomorrow its license is suspended for two months by the state!
The feds say Donald Domingues reported $259,725 as income and paid $64,909 in taxes but he allegedly failed to mention a $351,000 sales commission, which would have bumped his income up to just over $610,000 and his tax liability to $186,000.
Year-to-date sales are outpacing 2013 by 4.7 percent.
“The connector is a crucial part of the larger I-49 South project from Lafayette to New Orleans that would convert U.S. 90 into an interstate-quality roadway.” — U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu
Despite what was said at a coastal forum in New Orleans last month, oil and gas insiders contend a settlement is not in the stars for the massive lawsuit filed against nearly 100 energy companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.
Environmentalists, fishermen and others are celebrating a federal judge's ruling that could mean $18 billion in additional fines for BP over the nation's worst oil spill.
St. Louis-based Perficient Inc. says it will establish a software development center in Louisiana that is expected to create 245 jobs.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling Thursday could nearly quadruple the amount of civil penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil from BP's Macondo well in 2010.
Co-founder Ryan Trahan goes solo to keep it local.
Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be a way for the company and victims of the spill to avoid years of costly litigation — if all the pieces fall into place.
BP says it recently obtained correspondence between Patrick Juneau's Lafayette law firm and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility showing he argued for liberal compensation, flexible documentation requirements and other terms that would help Louisiana claimants at BP's expense.
A replacement is expected by January to fill the vacancy left when Greg Roberts resigned after allegedly pointing a fake gun at an engineer during a June meeting.
Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Newly established honor recognizes outstanding local attorneys; Neuner and McGoffin win President's Award; and Blanchard named Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Daily paper constructing new digs near production plant on Rieger Road at Siegen Lane, near I-10.
Investigation finds Arnaud’s Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie’s Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
Critics say workers and retirees are being held responsible for the Jindal administration's mismanagement of their program.
Potenza Marketing makes fastest-growing companies list.
Local 101 class Friday
“Byzantine” is the word members of the nominating committee for the local flood protection authority often use to describe the complicated, multi-layered matrix of qualifications that must be met to fill a vacancy on that board.
In the Pelican State, Benjamin Franklin buys you about $109 worth of stuff.
Brittan Bush joins Liskow & Lewis, Blake David installed as the Third District Member of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s board of governors, and Simien & Miniex announces 2014 scholarship winners.