Ambassador Profited From Ponzi, Jury Says

     DALLAS (CN) – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Peter Romero received more than $700,000 in fraudulent transfers from R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme, a federal jury ruled Friday.
     In a unanimous 7-0 ruling, jurors said that Romero, of St. Michaels, Md., must return the money.
     Romero is one of several Stanford insiders and political figures that court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey has taken to court over the questionable payments. Romero’s case was the first to go to trial.
     Janvey’s attorneys claim that Romero – a former member of the Stanford International Advisory Board – accepted payments from at least four Stanford entities from 2004 to 2009.
     “There is no evidence that Romero provided any value – much less reasonably equivalent value – in exchange for the fraudulent transfers he received,” Janvey’s Feb. 15, 2011 complaint stated. “Moreover, both this court and the Fifth Circuit have held that providing services in furtherance of a Ponzi scheme does not confer reasonable equivalent value.”
     In a motion for judgment as a matter of law filed Friday morning, Janvey said that Romero provided no proof or explanation how the services he provided Stanford “could have done anything other than ultimately assist Stanford in expanding the Ponzi scheme” and selling more fraudulent certificates of deposit.
     “Romero’s services to Stanford included, among other things, providing introductions and connections for Stanford, representing Stanford through public appearances and speeches, and lending credibility to Stanford by his association,” the 11-page motion states.
     “Stanford’s primary product was its fraudulent CDs … Romero’s theory and evidence of the ‘value’ he allegedly provided in exchange for the transfers he received runs squarely against holdings of the Fifth Circuit.”
     Stanford, 63, was convicted in 2012 in Houston Federal Court of selling phony certificates of deposit. He is serving 110 years in federal prison.
     Janvey has filed approximately 50 lawsuits against Stanford money recipients since his appointment, according to the Courthouse News database.
     His targets have included the Tiger Woods Foundation , the Miami Heat basketball team, Texas A&M University, the University of Miami, the PGA Tour and the ATP Tour.

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