- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

The massive $8 billion fraud case against Texas financier Allen Stanford moved into the shadows of Washington on Thursday when FBI agents found the missing businessman and served him with civil court papers including an order to turn over his passport.

Mr. Stanford, who is accused of perpetrating one of the nation’s largest-ever financial frauds, was located in Fredericksburg, according to the FBI.

An anonymous law-enforcement official told The Washington Times that Mr. Stanford, 58, had not purposely tried to elude authorities. The official said FBI agents served him with several sets of civil court papers and orders about 1:45 p.m. while he was sitting in a car.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case, said Mr. Stanford was in Virginia because he had either family or friends there.

Mr. Stanford’s whereabouts had been unknown since Tuesday, leading to speculation that he had fled overseas.

“We’re so pleased and thankful to the Lord that he’s alive,” his stepmother, Billie Stanford, told Reuters news agency.

The orders and documents that the FBI served were the Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaint, the memorandum of law filed with the complaint, a court order freezing his assets and a court order appointing the U.S. Marshals as a receiver to handle the frozen assets.

A judge also ordered Mr. Stanford to surrender his passport, and arrangements were being made to do so Thursday night.

But he was not arrested and was not facing criminal charges.

The SEC had filed a civil complaint Tuesday against Mr. Stanford accusing him of scamming investors by promising impossibly high returns on certificates of deposit. The complaint also names Mr. Stanford’s companies, Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, Houston-based broker-dealer and investment adviser Stanford Group Co., and investment adviser Stanford Capital Management.

The assets of those companies also were frozen.

Earlier this week, federal agents raided Stanford Group Co. offices in Miami, Houston and other U.S. cities.

Several Latin American countries also have acted against Stanford businesses, and Britain reportedly is considering doing the same. The socialist government of Hugo Chavez has seized Stanford Bank Venezuela to prevent a run on the institution stem massive online withdrawals.

“The authorities were forced to take the decision to intervene, and there will be an immediate sale,” Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez told reporters in Caracas.

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