Two former Stanford reps slammed with suit for more than $11M

Christopher Aitken and Stephen Thacker were paid for revenue "not generated by legitimate business activities," according to court documents

Oct 15, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

By Associated Press

The receiver overseeing R. Allen Stanford's businesses announced Thursday that he is suing two former employees of the Texas financier's capital management firm for more than $11 million.

In papers filed in federal court in Dallas, receiver Ralph Janvey said the money should be returned to investors the government alleges were defrauded in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Janvey said the payments were for three months work and came from revenue "not generated by legitimate business activities."

The payments were made in November 2008, three months before the government filed federal charges against Stanford and his top officers.

The announcement comes a day after Stanford was seen bleeding from his mouth during a criminal court hearing in Houston. Stanford has been jailed without bond following his June indictment.

The receiver's complaint names Christopher Aitken of Ponte Vedra, Florida, and Stephen Thacker of Baltimore. It says Aitken received nearly $8.7 million and Thacker nearly $2.6 million.

Aitken, according to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is now registered with Merrill Lynch & Co. He left Stanford in April, just several months after he joined the firm from Smith Barney.

Mr. Thacker, who left Smith Barney at the same time as Aitken, also departed Stanford in April. He is not currently registered with a firm, according to Finra records.

A message left at a listing for Aitken was not immediately returned. A number for Thacker was busy throughout the afternoon Thursday.

Janvey, who has about $80 million under his control, said in the complaint that he is seeking the additional $11 million so that he can redistribute it to clients who invested more than $7 billion in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Authorities say Stanford led a scheme promising inflated returns on the CDs, but instead used the money from new investors to pay off old investors. They also accuse him of skimming more than $1 billion to pay for his lavish lifestyle. Stanford denies the allegations.

Stanford, meanwhile, faces criminal charges in Houston, where Wednesday the 59-year-old was seen at a court hearing wiping away blood from his mouth and chin with a napkin. His defense attorney said stress from being in solitary confinement prompted his client to get sick.

The bleeding led U.S. District Judge David Hittner to stop and ask if the financier was OK. Stanford indicated he was fine and the hearing continued. A trial date will be set at a hearing in December.

"He's got some sort of illness. We're not exactly sure what," said Kent Schaffer, Stanford's attorney. "It's happened periodically. We checked it out. He appeared to be OK. It hasn't required hospitalization."

Wednesday was the first time Stanford had been in court since he got into a jail fight last month that resulted in him being hospitalized for a concussion. He also suffered a broken nose. In August, Stanford was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat and high pulse. Medical tests detected a non-life-threatening aneurysm in his leg.

Schaffer said Stanford is being held in conditions similar to those of a death row inmate, where he is shackled every time he is taken out of his cell and is only permitted visits from attorneys and not his family.

"This is crazy. It's just harassment," Schaffer said. "It's taken its toll. He's worn down."

Associated Press writer Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report. InvestmentNews' Mark Bruno also contributed to this report.

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