Shredded documents seized from R. Allen Stanford’s South Florida offices are being pieced back together by prosecutors probing allegations the Texas financier ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said federal prosecutors told him yesterday that within the next two months they will have “re-assembled the contents of three bags of shredded documents,” according to a report posted today on the court’s Web site.
The shredded evidence will initially be used against Bruce Perraud, a former Stanford Financial Group security specialist who is charged with destroying documents after an investigation began. Perraud’s trial date, set for Aug. 24, will probably change to accommodate his lawyer’s vacation plans, Seltzer said.
Stanford, four of his executives and Antigua’s former top banking regulator are charged with defrauding investors of as much as $7 billion through bogus certificates of deposit sold by Antigua-based Stanford International Bank. The charges mirror U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil claims filed against Stanford and three of his companies on Feb. 17.
Perraud, who isn’t accused of participating in the alleged fraud, worked at Stanford’s Fort Lauderdale office, according to an indictment unsealed in June. Prosecutors claim Perraud told a document-shredding company to destroy a 95-gallon bin full of papers on Feb. 25, a week after a Texas judge presiding over the SEC case issued an order forbidding the alteration, removal or destruction of Stanford Financial records.
Edward Shohat, Perraud’s lawyer, said in a July 22 telephone interview that his client intends to fight the charge.
Prosecutors told Seltzer that, in addition to the reassembled shredded documents, they intend to use six seized computer hard drives as evidence against Perraud.