Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford surrenders to FBI agents in Va., to appear in court Friday

R. Allen Stanford surrenders to FBI in Va.

DALLAS — Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford, chairman of the troubled Stanford Financial Group, surrendered to FBI agents in Virginia Thursday afternoon, his attorney said.

Law enforcement officials said Stanford is in custody after surrendering in Stafford, Va. Authorities plan to unseal an indictment charging Stanford on Friday, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Stanford is to appear in federal court in Richmond, Va., on Friday morning, they added.

A grand jury in Houston has been investigating Stanford Financial Group. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges earlier this year accusing Stanford and his top executives of conducting an $8 billion fraud by advising clients to buy certificates of deposit from the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

Stanford has maintained his innocence.

Dick DeGuerin, Stanford’s attorney in Houston, told The Associated Press that Stanford “surrendered this afternoon to some FBI agents who were hiding out in black SUVs outside the residence where he was staying in Virginia.”

“He walked out and asked if they had a warrant,” DeGuerin said. He said Stanford told them to arrest him if they had a warrant and said if they didn’t he would go back to Houston Friday to turn himself in.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko declined to comment.

Laura Pendergest-Holt, chief investment officer of Stanford’s parent company, is facing criminal charges of obstructing the SEC’s investigation by lying about her knowledge of the firm’s activities and omitting key details.

“We heard the grand jury has been active, and we fully expect indictments,” her attorney Jeff Tillotson told the AP. “We obviously deny that our client has committed any crime.”

He has said she was “set up” by Stanford.

The SEC said in a lawsuit filed in February that Stanford International Bank advertised its CDs in a brochure touting a conservative investment philosophy. But instead the Stanford bank’s portfolio was “misappropriated by Defendant Allen Stanford and used by him to acquire private equity investments and real estate,” the complaint says.

An amended complaint by the SEC accused Stanford and his finance chief, James M. Davis, of conducting a “massive Ponzi scheme.” In a Ponzi scheme, early investors are paid returns from money put in by later investors.

Davis promised in April to cooperate with federal investigators.

Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett in Washington, D.C., and Regina L. Burns in Dallas contributed to this report.

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