For more than five years, lawyers representing a court-appointed receiver have trotted the globe in their quest to find the assets of convicted financier R. Allen Stanford—a trip that’s taken them to a bank in Panama, to a broker business in Peru and through the coffers of both of the U.S. major political parties.
The lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions in funds related to the alleged massive Ponzi scheme linked to Stanford-related bank defendants as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission action pending in a Northern District of Texas trial court. [See "The Slowpoke Report: Hurricane Ike, Ponzi Scheme and Border-Fence Cases Swamp Judges," Texas Lawyer, January 13, page 1.]
And now they’ve landed on the doorstep of a foundation created by professional golf superstar Tiger Woods, according to Ralph Janvey v. Tiger Woods Foundation, which was filed April 29.
The current suit seeks to recover two separate contributions to the Tiger Woods Foundation totaling $502,000. “The receiver brings this complaint to rescind these transfers because the funds used were those of innocent, unwitting investors in the bank’s fraudulent Ponzi scheme,” according to the complaint.
Richard Roper, a partner in Dallas’ Thompson & Knight who represents receiver Ralph Janvey, said he normally pursues Stanford assets in Latin America. But because another lawyer representing Janvey had a conflict, he filed the domestic case in the long-running dispute.
“I’m handling this particular clawback litigation. And it’s one of many of these clawback litigations that we’re pursuing,” Roper said. “The problem with the litigation is, the business was spread out all over the Western Hemisphere, and putting your hands on all the books and records is a heavy lift,” he said.
Charlene Koonce, of Dallas’ Scheef & Stone, who represents the foundation, did not return a call for comment.