February 19th, 2009
09:38 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Meet "Mini-Madoff"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/02/17/sec.stanford/art.stanford.afp.gi.jpg caption="Stanford presents a trophy to the winners of his Twenty20 cricket tournament in November 2008."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Bernard Madoff is allegedly the king of all scams, accused of that $50 billion Ponzi scheme.  Now meet a "Mini-Madoff". Today the Feds caught up with financier Robert Allen Stanford and served him papers accusing him of overseeing a $9.2 billion dollar investment fraud scheme.

As Randi Kaye will report tonight, investors linked to Stanford around the world have tried to rescue their money from Antigua to Venezuela to Mexico.

Here's what we found interesting. Stanford was located in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was not taken into custody. But the SEC says he's connected to a "fraud of shocking magnitude."

Just months ago, Stanford was on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, reportedly worth more than $2 billion. Now all his assets have been frozen by a U.S. judge.

Tonight on AC360°, we'll have more details on this accused swindler and show you his political connections on Capitol Hill.

We're also tracking the latest job loss numbers. It's not pretty. But when will it get better? CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi offers his prediction.

Do you think it will get worse before it gets better? Share your thoughts below.

We'll have these stories and more at 10pm ET.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Paul Monti

    So let's see, over the past 8 years, companies have continued to outsource American jobs overseas, Executives continue to receive big fat salaries and bonus' for doing a 'good' job when it comes down to it, they really didn't. The American tax payer is now responsible for these corporations and the bad decisions that they have made and we are bailing them out, yet the Executives and board members aren't shelling out their money to save their company. I'm also so curious as to how many of these companies have laid off American workers who have maintained outsourced workers? The American tax payer is bailing out the auto industry, more American companies who have made bad business decisions and have and still continue to produce mediocre products that they cram down our throat. Then we continue on the path of people such as Madoff and Stanford who have swindle billions of dollars from people and have ruined our economy, yet they are walking the streets, their assets are not frozen, yet the American tax payer will still pay for it in the end. And then we have American companies that are poisoning us with tainted food products that are either produced here or the products come from another country, they know the product is deadly yet they push it out to us.
    I just want to know when did our country move into the hands of the corporations and our government and out of the people's hands? When will enough be enough for our government to start looking at things with our best interest (the taxpayers) in mind and not these corporations, Wall Street, financial institutes or our relationships with other countries, and start making the accountable and responsible for their bad decisions? Seriously, isn't enough enough already?

    February 20, 2009 at 6:54 am |
  2. Wardell katrina Survivor

    To Sanford from South Carolina,don't blame OUR government and the media, for the corruption of the replublican party philosophy.all of that negative propoganda, spit out by the sean Hannit, and rush lim-ocycontin-limbaugh, it's time out, WE are in trouble, you live in a state with a multitude of impoverious people, who need help, but you so-called leaders keep spitting out all that negative garbage, wakeup, I'm not your problem, you are. Support OUR president, tell your official to get on board.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:09 am |
  3. Wardell katrina Survivor

    WAKE UP AMERICA, 2blessed914, has it just about right, the reason these people aren't going to jail yet is because .THIS IS BIGG, think about this, pit someone in office, you can have a beer with, whose not very bright,also he himself was charged with 'COOKING THE BOOKS', now the right man in at the right time for,THE GREAT AMERICAN RIPP-OFF, this is no accident, PUT YOUR SOC SEC, in the stock market, remember that, a campain? Madoff,hobnobbed with the bigg DOGGS, like Enrons ceo, I don't think he will make it to court, assets not frozen, the widow of Enron's ceo, got to keep the money, while other lost all they had, thank George, for the corrupt court system, our government, is made up of us, by us, for US, pay attention to who you put in office, THE GREAT AMERICAN RIPP-OFF, is just being revealed, theres more to come. 2blessed914 you are right on point, everybody should support president Obama, at least he is TRYING to turn this MESS, around,and it's going to be a while, tell the replubican, to get on board, help don't hurt, you've done enough. THE ENEMY IS WITHIN. They chose GREED over GREATNESS. GOD help US, and God bless ALL of you.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:41 am |
  4. Patricia Campbell

    It sickens me to think that this latest financial investment disaster, on top of everything else, hit the news today – Robert Allen Stanford $9.2 billion dollar investment fraud scheme -THINK about it – is neither the first nor the last orchestrator of charm and deceipt we will hear about concerning multi-billion dollar fraud schemes of this mind boggling magnitude. WHY? Why is this coming to light now? He has been getting away with it for years. HUGE ego coupled with thoroughly documented historical records regarding substantial donations to Capitol Hill over the years. And he is free.....and he will cost everyone a bundle to stay that way. What is wrong with this picture?

    February 20, 2009 at 1:55 am |
  5. Brian from Seattle

    Watching this story got me thinking - maybe we need "Ponzi tribunals" just like the military tribunals for terrorists. A few weeks at Guantanamo, a little waterboarding, and a quick trial - I bet Stanford, Madoff and the rest of their pals would cough up their ill-gotten gains pronto, and Wall Street would be a lot cleaner!

    February 20, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  6. Purnell Kankakee IL.

    Do they ever get arrested for stealing or what, how many people lives can they destroy before enough is enough. If any of us stole five dollars the police would be all over us, they steal billions and the courts and the police kiss their entire butt trying to get them to tell them how they stole so many peoples money!

    This is a complete joke the rich have no rules!

    February 20, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  7. susan

    I hope the economy rebounds.I am a Democrat that did not vote for Obama because of Reverand Wright and because of having voted while running a 103 fever and seriously sick for David Dinkins only to see the Crown Heights riots in NY- and I did not want another million man march,either ,as after the release of O.J. simpson.

    But I was feeling pretty good about Obama's victory,none the less,until Blago and his pay for play scandal broke but even that one -O.K. it's politics-I simmered down I liked Obama's reaching out for bi-partisanism to Republicans. I believe a stimulus package is essential-I don't want a depression and believe in the social security safety net of FDR and these type of policies to avoid another depression.But listening to the news tonight-Obama going to Canada-and that NAFTA business raring it's ugly head ,again-anyway this mini madoff con artist with both political and Mexican drug money laundering,and finally watching Michelle Obama doing public relations work for Obama-I've gotten to like Michelle,for the way she deals with children but today was different and I remembered,out of the blue-that I recieved a call on my cell phone about 1 or 2 weeks after Obama was innaugerated,asking for campaign funds for Obama-Iwas shocked at getting such a call only a matter of a week or so asking for campaign contributions for a man just elected.The young women brazenly asked for the money happily and the economy was tanking-she was oblivious-I responded that I din't vote for Obama but McCain-hoping that would stop her .Undeterred,she went on somewhat boasting but friendly saying,Obama is the President now and not Mccain.I really got angry,were these people from Mars,the economy is horrible and it's only a week or so from Obama's election and his already asking for Campaign donations-this was before Blago was exposed-I retorted angrily,YOU max out YOUR credit card,I am not giving anything-she finally got the message. i'd forgotten about the call until tonight.Was this a real campaign call for Obama's 2013 campaign re-election or was this a scam artist-but I could hear background noise,as though a bank of such callers were talking-people actually earn money soliciting funds for charities and I guess Campaign funds.I hope CNN investigates this Campaign fund raising for Obama so immidiately after his election and if it's a con or real.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:54 am |
  8. Rob MacRiner

    As painful as this economic meltdown will be, it had to happen. We were living a false sense of wealth for years. The lack of regulations coupled with greed, corporate arrogance and pyramid investments lead us into a casino mentality addicted with self-indulgence. The Madoff 50 billion dollar rip-off is an unfortunate illustration of how foolish we had become. There are clearly many more Madoffs. As a society we were addicted to money and lost focus on family, environment; and the all important “checks and balances”. We let the corporate moguls play with us like lab rats on an enormous consumption wheel. Hopefully this is a time for a major paradigm shift in values. Yep it can hurt, but if you're honest with yourself this melt-down of wealth is only as painful as our inability to let go of greed.

    Rob MacRiner Toronto

    February 20, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  9. Ve Samuel

    For years some of us in Antigua have been wary of this so called billionaire. However, because of the money that he is accused of bilking from investors he bought his way into the government favours. The fragile economy in Antigua can scarcely afford this massive scam. He should at least be placed in jail, where is the justice??

    February 20, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  10. penelope

    Sometimes I just wonder for what? I hope the feds continue to take out the trash.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  11. David

    I'm not being facetious when I say that Madoff, Stanford, Samuel Israel, Nadel, Cosmo, etc. should have all been hooded and faced rendition to some obscure holding pen as they are financial terrorists that have done mega damage to the USA and elsewhere. They then needed water boarded until they confessed everything they knew about where the stolen money was located and whom else was involved, etc.

    Instead they get treated as royalty and with kid gloves while some out of work convenience store shop lifter goes immediately to jail without passing go.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  12. Beverly HaynesLove; Leslie,MI

    How can the judges not put these men behind bars? They have hurt all of us, maybe not directly but indirectly by hurting those that help society with their funding of Research hospitals, medical research, museums, schools, scholarships,etc.. They should freeze all the assets of these men and that of their family members involved in the deception!!

    February 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  13. 2blessed914

    No doubt it will get worse before it gets better. Everyone better strap themselves in for a bumpy ride. Even with all the help the President is trying to offer us, Pandora’s Box is already open.

    February 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  14. 2blessed914

    The reason the stock market is taking such a hit is because the shell game is now over!!! It is now CROOKS BEWARE!!!

    February 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  15. BJ

    Why should these guys be treated any better than a bank robber or a jewelry thief. Stealing is stealing no matter what level of econmic status.

    February 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  16. 2blessed914

    We need to stay focused on the reason we are in this mess; the deregulation policies of Mr. Bush, the Bernie Madoffs' and all the other con-artist, caught or not caught, and the greedy banks, credit card companies, and mortgage companies that took advantage of the public. Even if the consumer was aware, the institutions and the monitors were supposed to police the process.

    Stop blaming the victims. We should have a class action suits on them all. Let's not fight each other. Let's place our anger where it belongs. These institutions always exploit the fair players.

    President Obama is doing a great Job! At least he's trying.
    He has done more in 30 days than Mr. Bush did in eight years!!

    February 19, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  17. Michelle

    Speaking with members of the financial planning arena , it is no surprise that Stanford group is in trouble. No representative of their products is ignorant to the unrealistic returns promised. The "whistleblowers" are the guys I would trust with my money

    February 19, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  18. -Nioshii-

    Since Sean Hannity actually promoted this guy on his show, don't be trying to make it look like his relationships are with dems, -N-

    February 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Sanford from South Carolina

    Now that I think about it, the government and media have fabricated a unique definition of a "Madoff", which seems to fit everyone of us. Couldn't we all be labeled "micro-mini Madoffs"? We could all be accused of being swindlers if we have a paying job, and the government will take our earnings to spread around, while the media praises the government for their "caring". Excuse me, I have to go count my off-shore blessing now.

    February 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Brenda Alston

    White collar criminals do more harm to more people than any main st. pick pocketer. Guess who goes to jail immediately?

    February 19, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  21. Brenda Alston

    This guy should be behind 9 billion steel bars.

    February 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  22. Jonathan

    Thing this is with securities regulation, hedge funds are not going to be scrutinized as your normal financial products such as mutual funds, ETFs, etc. Madoff and "Mini-Madoff" are just the starters. Hedge funds should be 100% transparent. If and when that happens, the true amounts of fraud will be revealed!

    February 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  23. Jonathan

    IRS should be proactive and look into many of these self claim billionaires that have been surfaced from nowhere in the last few years ….

    February 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  24. Annie Kate

    I keep hoping that things are as bad as they can get....unfortunately though it seems we have a ways to go yet. I just hope the stimulus package stems the pain and the spread of that pain.

    February 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  25. Sharon S

    Well I do find this shocking that this man was not taken into custody and neither was Madoff? Why????

    and if you remember Madoff's assets were not frozen because he and his wife were still pulling money and other assets out and trying to hide them and relocate them?

    So why is it exactly that neither of these men were taken into custody and ALL their assets frozen immediately?

    Really makes me question the integrity of this country especially at this sad time!

    Funny thing is they would take a drunk in for being drunk in public but let a scam artist who stole millions and billions walk the streets and still be treated with dignity?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:54 pm |