By: James W. Kraus
On September 13, 2012, Laura Pendergest-Holt, the former Chief Investment Officer of Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 36 months in prison for her role in obstructing the SEC’s investigation of the Stanford International Bank (SIB), the Antiguan off-shore bank owned by convicted financier Robert Allen Stanford. U.S. v. Pendergest-Holt, No. H-09-342 (S.D. Tx.) Earlier this year, Mr. Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison after his conviction on charges of financial fraud relating to his orchestration of a $7 billion ponzi scheme.
The obstruction of justice charge was based on testimony that Pendergest-Holt provided to the SEC in its inquiry regarding SIB’s investment portfolio. Pendergest-Holt acknowledged that her eventual appearance and sworn testimony before the SEC was a stall tactic designed to frustrate the SEC’s efforts to obtain important information about SIB’s investment portfolio.