IRS Files $226M Claim Against Stanford

As a Texas receiver sifts through claims against Stanford Financial Group, one creditor has asked to skip toward the front of the line – the Internal Revenue Service.

In a motion filed Friday “at the direction of the Attorney General of the United States,” the IRS claims R. Allen Stanford and soon-to-be-ex-wife Susan Stanford owe more than $226 million in federal income taxes, an amount that includes penalties and interest.

Stanford is the Texas billionaire and chairman of the Stanford Group. Susan Stanford filed for divorce in 2007, according to news reports.

Their tax bill may grow beyond the $226 million, the IRS says, because they have not yet filed a 2007 income tax return.

“The IRS shall file a fairly significant claim against R. Allen Stanford,” reads the motion for relief from the Texas receiver’s temporary restraining order. “To file an accurate and complete claim, the IRS will need to resolve the amount of R. Allen Stanford’s unpaid federal income tax liabilities for tax years 1999-2008, as well as the short period of Jan. 1, 2009, to Feb. 17, 2009.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has described the business empire Stanford ran, which included an Antigua-based bank and an investment brokerage office in Memphis, as being part of a massive Ponzi scheme.

Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey was appointed last month to take over Stanford’s assets, going over the company’s books and cataloging any claims against its assets. Besides operating a brokerage office in Memphis, several major Stanford executives had ties here.

Stanford’s chief financial officer James Davis, a former college roommate of the company’s chairman, had an office in East Memphis’ Crescent Center. Laura Pendergest-Holt, Stanford’s chief investment officer, worked in Memphis from the mid-1990s through 2007. She supervised a group of analysts spread from Memphis to Tupelo, Miss., to St. Croix in the U. S. Virgin Islands.

Pendergest-Holt is the only person so far facing criminal charges related to the Stanford Probe. Stanford’s chairman, as well as Davis and Pendergest-Holt, are named in a civil complaint the SEC filed in Texas last month against the family of companies.

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