An anecdote in a new GQ Allen Stanford story sheds some light on yesterday’s weird reports that the suspected Ponzi schemer secured himself ten years of SEC amnesty by being an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration — and also the continuing puzzle of why the Stanford’s “statuesque” CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt, who was formally indicted today, isn’t cooperating with the government. Stanford wasn’t just any DEA informant, he turned his plane around at the chance to rat out a Mexican drug lord! Also, Stanford was a bit cultlike.
The relevant passage:
This past March, I spoke with David Tinsley, a former supervisory agent for the DEA who ran a large money-laundering task force out of Miami. Tinsley himself is a controversial character who was fired and rehired by the DEA after a disagreement involving an informant, and he now runs a private intelligence company called 5 Stones Intelligence. He told me he contacted Stanford for the first time in 1999, as Stanford was preparing to fly from D.C. to Houston. When Stanford answered the phone, Tinsley told him that he’d found dirty money in Stanford’s bank, a lot of it, and that he’d already sent out subpoenas. Stanford told his pilots to reroute his flight, and within hours he touched down at the Miami airport, then drove to the secure DEA compound in the center of the city. “We were somewhat staggered that he would come talk to us without a truckload of attorneys,” Tinsley said.And to think the federal government didn’t have to knight him or anything!
As Stanford sat in a DEA conference room, impeccably dressed and polite, Tinsley told him that he’d been tracking the money of the legendary Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who’d apparently stashed some of his funds in Stanford International. “Mr. Tinsley,” Stanford finally said, “if you tell me this money’s bad and get a seizure order, I’ll personally deliver it.”
Tinsley shook his head as he recounted the scene, still surprised by Stanford’s willingness to cooperate. “He said, ‘If I have other accounts you want to know about, just tell me. I’ll let you see them!’ ” Agents say Stanford also told them he’d been approached by international spy services—Tinsley assumed he meant the British secret-intelligence service, MI6—who wanted access to his customer accounts. “I want you to be aware,” Tinsley recalled Stanford telling him, “I’ve never helped them, but I’m helping you.”
Tinsley suspected that access to Stanford’s books would open up a gigantic trove of information about drug money, and several months after that meeting, Tinsley tried to recruit a Stanford International executive, offering $250,000 to become a confidential informant for the DEA. But Stanford’s employee turned him down. “The pathology of loyalty in that company,” Tinsley said, “was very strong.”