Stanford Investors Accuse Lawyer, Law Firm of Aiding Fraud

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Three people who say they invested with R. Allen Stanford, the Texas financier accused of running a $7 billion fraud, sued New York law firm Proskauer Rose LLP and attorney Thomas Sjoblom, accusing them of aiding the deception.

The investors claim that the firm and Sjoblom, listed on the Proskauer Web site as a partner, worked for Stanford knowing he was engaged in illegal and improper conduct, according to a complaint in federal court in Dallas.

“Defendants aided and abetted and participated” with Stanford Financial Group Co. and Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. “in a fraudulent scheme, making defendants directly liable for fraud,” according to the complaint filed Aug. 27.

Stanford, the principal of Stanford Financial Group and the bank, was sued in February by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly running a “massive” fraud scheme involving the sale of certificates of deposit.

A federal grand jury in Houston indicted Stanford and four other people in June on parallel criminal allegations. Stanford has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Proskauer Rose said yesterday it will seek dismissal of the suit.

‘Legally Flawed’

“This suit is legally flawed and factually erroneous,” Josh Epstein, a firm spokesman, said in an e-mail. “There is no basis whatsoever for any claim that Proskauer, which functioned as defense counsel in a regulatory investigation, bears any responsibility for the fraud allegedly inflicted upon investors.”

Sjoblom didn’t reply to voice-mail and e-mail messages seeking comment yesterday.

The investors, two U.S. citizens and one Mexican national, seek class-action, or group, status on behalf of other Stanford investors. They’re also seeking more than $7 billion in compensation and punitive damages.

The case is Troice v. Proskauer Rose LLP, 09cv1600, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

Source: Bloomberg

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