February 19, 2009— -- The billionaire banker accused of scamming $8 billion, R. Allen Stanford, was located by FBI officials today and served with civil papers by the SEC, putting an end to a nationwide search.
Stanford later turned in his passport to federal prosecutors, saying "he would not flee," according to one of Stanford's lobbyists, Ben Barnes.
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Stanford was located in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area, the FBI said in a statement. The papers he was served with were the SEC's complaint, the memorandum of law filed with the complaint, the court order freezing his asset, and the court order appointing a receiver, according to a SEC statement.
Stanford is "very depressed," according to Barnes and sought to end a federal manhunt for him by directly approaching officials at the Justice Department, Barnes said.
Earlier this week, the SEC accused Stanford of defrauding 50,000 customers around the world by lying about the return rate on certificates of deposits offered by his firm, Stanford Financial.
U.S. Marshals seized his company and its assets, under an emergency federal court order sought by the SEC
Federal authorities tell ABC News that in addition to the SEC complaint, Stanford is under investigation in connection with an alleged drug money laundering scheme for Mexico's Gulf Cartel.
In the meantime, the SEC has begun to seize an array of private property owned by Stanford and his firm.
Stanford's fleet of six private jets were recalled to the corporate hangar at Sugarland Airport outside Houston, including the Bombardier-700 luxury jet that was used exclusively by Stanford and considered the "Flagship of the Stanford Empire," according to aviation websites.
According to flight records, the Stanford jet flew into Washington, D.C. earlier this week and returned to Houston yesterday afternoon. Flight crews said Stanford was not seen on the plane when it unloaded.
Life of Luxury in St. Croix
Stanford's 120 foot yacht, docked at a marina in St. Croix, is also likely to be seized, and SEC attorneys contacted marina owners in St. Croix to determine the precise location of the yacht.
Stanford also owns a huge mansion in St. Croix, located in the main city of Christiansted.
Stanford's lobbyist Barnes, a former Texas public official, said Stanford had hired Brendan Sullivan of the Washington firm Williams Connolly.
Sullivan is considered one of the capital's top criminal defense lawyers who has handled a long list of high-profile clients including Oliver North and Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).