United States v. Laura Pendergest-Holt

United States v. Gilbert Lopez and Mark Kuhrt
Court Docket Number: H-09-342

This case is assigned to the Honorable David Hittner, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas, United States Courthouse, 515 Rusk Avenue, Houston, Texas. On June 16, 2010, Judge Hittner issued an order approving certain alternative notice procedures to be followed by the Government in alerting victims to future court proceedings relating to this case, as required by the Justice For All Act of 2004. The full text of the Court's Order is available below.

On February 14, 2013, Gilbert T. Lopez Jr., the former chief accounting officer of Stanford Financial Group Company, and Mark J. Kuhrt, the former global controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for their roles in helping convicted defendant R. Allen Stanford perpetrate a fraud scheme involving Stanford International Bank (SIB). In addition to the prison terms, Judge Hittner sentenced Lopez and Kuhrt to serve three years of supervised release and ordered Lopez to pay a $25,000 fine. Judge Hittner also found that both defendants obstructed justice by committing perjury at trial. A press release on the sentencing can be found at:

Both defendants were convicted in November of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud after a five- week jury trial. The evidence presented at Lopez and Kuhrt痴 trial established that they were aware of and tracked Stanford痴 misuse of SIB痴 assets, kept the misuse hidden from the public and from almost all of Stanford痴 other employees and worked behind the scenes to prevent the misuse from being discovered. They also helped Stanford falsely represent to SIB customers during the economic crash in late 2008 that Stanford had infused hundreds of millions of dollars into SIB when he had not. As part of that effort, Lopez and Kuhrt helped design a fraudulent real estate transaction that involved falsely inflating parcels of land purchased at $63.5 million to a purported value of $3.2 billion.

  1. Laura Pendergest-Holt Sentencing: On September 13, 2012, Laura Pendergest-Holt, the former chief investment officer of Stanford Financial Group, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by 3 years supervised release, and was immediately remanded into custody. Judge Hittner noted that Pendergest-Holt did not have the financial ability to pay a fine. The sentence follows her June 2012 guilty plea to one count of obstruction of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation (Count 20: 18 U.S.C. ァ 1505), which was charged in a June 2009 indictment.

    In pleading guilty, Pendergest-Holt admitted that despite knowing that she was incapable of testifying about the vast majority of that portfolio, she agreed to testify before the SEC. During the guilty plea, 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, and she admitted that she took this action intentionally and corruptly, knowing that her testimony would impede the SEC's investigation and help SIB continue operating.

  2. Conviction and Sentencing of Robert Allen Stanford: On June 14, 2012, Robert Allen Stanford, the former Chairman of Stanford International Bank (SIB), was sentenced to 110 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $5.9 billion. Stanford was convicted on March 6, 2012, following a six week trial and approximately three days of deliberation on 13 of 14 counts in the indictment. Stanford was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation, one count of obstruction of an SEC investigation and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The jury also found that 29 financial accounts located abroad and worth approximately $330 million were proceeds of Stanford's fraud and should be forfeited.
  3. Related cases: On January 22, James M. Davis, the former chief financial officer of Stanford International Bank (SIB) and Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in helping Robert Allen Stanford perpetrate a fraud scheme involving SIB, and for conspiring to obstruct a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into SIB. The court also sentenced Davis to serve three years of supervised release and imposed a personal money judgment of $1 billion, which is an ongoing obligation for Davis to pay back criminal proceeds. The sentence follows Davis' guilty plea to a three count information, charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and securities fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation. During the sentencing proceeding, Judge Hittner noted that Davis began cooperating with the government in early 2009, shortly after SIB's collapse. Judge Hittner also noted that over the following three years, Davis provided substantial assistance to the authorities in the investigation and prosecution of others, including testifying at Stanford's trial; testifying during the trial of Gilbert T. Lopez Jr. and Mark J. Kuhrt, Stanford's former chief accounting officer and global controller, respectively; and preparing to testify against Laura Pendergest-Holt, Stanford's chief investment officer. The press release can be seen at:

    In another related case, United States v. Perraud and Thomas Raffanello (Court Docket H 09- 601029-CR-Zloch), on February 12, 2010, in the Southern District of Florida, while the jury was deliberating, U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Goldberg acquitted Bruce Perraud, a former global security specialist at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, office of Stanford Financial Group (SFG), headquartered in Houston, Texas, and Thomas Raffanello, the former global director of security at SFG's Ft. Lauderdale office, granting the defendants' motions for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29. Perraud and Raffanello each were charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proceeding and to destroy documents in a federal investigation, one count of obstruction of a proceeding before the SEC, and one count of destruction of records in a federal investigation in a September 2009 superseding indictment stemming from a $7 billion investment fraud scheme.

Status of Leroy King: The remaining co-defendant in the case, Leroy King, awaits extradition to the United States.

Order Regarding Sentencing Procedure

Victim Impact Statement Form

Superseding Indictment against Lopez and Kuhrt

Pendergest-Holt Plea Agreement

Amended Scheduling Order

Order for a Psychiatric Evaluation

Order of Excludable Delay

Gag Order

Order Authorizing Alternative Notice to Victims

Government's Motion for an Order Regarding Victim Notification

Order Granting Motion for Severance

Scheduling Order for Trial

Order Setting Status Conference

Order Setting Status Conference

Order Cancelling Status Hearing

Amended Scheduling Order

Order Granting Continuance

Detention Order


Updated June 15, 2015