A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel ordered Pershing to pay $5.6 million in damages to a group of 23 investors who claimed they lost money in the Ponzi scheme run by financier R. Allen Stanford, who is serving a 110-year prison sentence.
Pershing did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday, two days after the three-person FINRA arbitration panel made its decision and posted the award on the regulator’s website.
The panel awarded the claimants $2.8 million in compensatory damages and $2.8 million punitive/exemplary damages. That fell significantly short of the $22.1 million in damages overall that the claimants had collectively requested.
Initially, a group of nine investors filed a claim against Pershing on or about Nov. 26, 2018. A separate group of nine investors filed a claim against Pershing on or about Dec. 12, 2018 and a group of five investors filed a claim against Pershing on or about Jan. 2, 2019.
All of them claimed Pershing was guilty of aiding and abetting common law fraud, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract and violating multiple FINRA rules, according to FINRA. They all alleged that Pershing “aided and abetted criminal activities related to” the Ponzi scheme run by Stanford that involved certificates of deposit bought by the investors from Stanford International Bank, and Pershing’s actions resulted in the claimants suffering losses.
The three separate actions against Pershing were later consolidated into one case that went to FINRA arbitration.
Scott D. Hirsch, owner of Scott Hirsch Law Group in Boca Raton, Florida, who represented the claimants, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He previously represented several investors who claimed Pershing aided and abetted the Stanford Ponzi scheme. A three-person FINRA arbitration panel ordered Pershing to pay $1.4 million to those victims last year.
Allen Stanford allegedly defrauded investors out of more than $7.2 billion by selling them CDs. Contrary to Stanford’s assurances about the safety and profitability of the investments, he allegedly stole billions of dollars of investor funds and “invested” other funds in speculative personal businesses.
In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Stanford, his companies and other defendants. He was sentenced to prison in 2012.