North Texans among Stanford victims



Posted on March 3, 2009 at 12:03 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 4:54 PM

Assets Frozen

Chris Hawes reports

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DALLAS - Thousands of accounts worth billions of dollars are frozen. And it's not just the big cats wrapped into the Allen Stanford financial scheme.

There are hundreds of average, everyday people who now are - at least temporarily - penniless.

Dozens of families in North Texas are among those affected because their brokers worked for Stanford Financial Group.

Marsha and Arlie Carter always planned to live out their golden years in Rainbow, Texas, outside Dallas. They sold their software company - the business they built together from nothing - to finance their dream.

"We hoped to pass it down to my kids and grandkids," Marsha said.

Then, last month, they turned on the news and learned the company their broker worked for was entangled in a case of massive alleged fraud. All the money associated with Stanford Financial Group was frozen, including about 30,000 brokerage accounts.

That's where the Carters were keeping most of the money they had saved.

"There's a possibility that we might lose the house if we can't have enough income to make the payments on it," Marsha Carter said.

The Carters aren't alone. Attorney Mike Quilling estimates a half-billion dollars handled by Dallas-based Stanford brokers is frozen. He's working to get it thawed.

"The vast majority of these accounts - and in many instances 100 percent of the account value - has nothing to do with the bad bank side," Quilling said.

Owen Hannay's mother is among the victims. Her cash is frozen, leaving no funds to pay the large monthly bill for her assisted living home. "It's one thing when it's a horrible situation; it's another when you get sort of dragged into a horrible siutation," he said. "It gets harder every single month; it's an enormous amount to have to pay."

Most Stanford accounts will remain frozen for at least another two weeks. The judge has agreed to hear from the desperate investors at that time.

The Carters however are past tears, focusing for now only on what they can do today. "We can change our budget, tighten the purse strings, try to get a job again," Marsha Carter said with a laugh.

On Monday, the receiver in the Stanford case told a judge he does plan to unfreeze the smallest accounts - those worth less than $100,000. That plan, however, is not expected to help most investors.