Grand jury indicts Stanford executive on criminal charges

By Calvin Palmer

A federal grand jury in Houston today indicted the chief investment officer of Stanford Financial Group, Laura Pendergest-Holt, on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutor Gregg Costa asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy to issue a summons for Pendergest-Holt to appear in about 10 days.

Pendergest-Holt is free on bail on a similar obstruction charge filed in February that accuses her of lying to, or failing to give information to, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators in Dallas.

Her lawyer, Dan Cogdell, said he had not seen the indictment and had no immediate comment. He said that Pendergest-Holt is in Houston to talk to him.

It is the first criminal indictment to come out of the investigation into the Houston-based banking and financial services network headed by R. Allen Stanford.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit on February 17, alleging an $8 billion fraud by Pendergest-Holt, Stanford, Davis and three Stanford Financial Group companies.

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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