United States v. Bruce Perraud and Thomas Raffanello
Court Docket Number: H 09- 60129
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.
According to court documents, SFG, headquartered in Houston, Texas, was the parent company of numerous affiliated financial services entities, including Stanford International Bank, Ltd. (SIBL), an offshore SFG bank affiliate located in St. John’s, Antigua. SIBL is alleged to have misrepresented that it held $8 billion in client funds that had been invested primarily in its CDs. On February 16, 2009, the SEC filed a complaint against SIBL, and its affiliated entities, in which it alleged that the SIBL CD program was the mechanism by which the principals of SIBL orchestrated a “massive, ongoing fraud.” On February 16, 2009, a receiver was appointed to assume exclusive control of all SFG-related entities in order to protect SIBL assets from potential waste and depletion by SIBL’s principals. In addition, the District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an order instructing that all SFG and SIBL employees preserve all company documents and records, protecting them from destruction.
The second superseding indictment alleged that the receiver sent an e-mail on February 17, 2009, to all SFG employees describing the contents of the court order mandating document and record preservation and further instructed SFG employees that they had been ordered to preserve “any and all documents, notes and records,” and that they may not “hide, destroy or alter any document or electronic record relating to the company.” Perraud then placed a telephone call to Raffanello in which he discussed the court order mandating the preservation of documents. On February 23, 2009, Raffanello is alleged to have directed that the documents housed at SFG’s Ft. Lauderdale office be shredded. Perraud allegedly contacted a commercial shredding company on that same day and on February 25, 2009, a representative of the commercial shredding company arrived at SFG’s Fort Lauderdale offices, where he was met by Perraud. Perraud then supervised as a 95-gallon bin was packed with documents and was hauled to the shredder’s vehicle, where its contents and other documents were shredded.
In a related case pending before the Honorable David Hittner, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District Texas, SFG corporate officers Robert Allen Stanford, Laura Pendergest-Holt, Gilbert Lopez and Mark Kuhrt, as well as Leroy King, a former Antiguan bank regulator, are charged in a June 2009 indictment with conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud; wire fraud; mail fraud; and conspiracy to commit money laundering stemming from an alleged massive investment fraud scheme involving CDs held by SIBL . Stanford, Pendergest-Holt and King were also charged with conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation and obstruction of an SEC investigation. Jury selection and trial in this case is set for January 24, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
In another related case before Judge Hittner, James Davis, SFG’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty on April 27, 2009, in the Southern District of Texas, to a three count information charging him with conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud; mail fraud; and conspiracy to obstruct a proceeding of the SEC. Further information on this case can be found under the website posting for U.S. v. James M. Davis (Court Docket H 09- 335).