Federal judges reject convicted Ponzi scheme operator R. Allen Stanford’s appeal, uphold 110-year sentence _lowres

R. Allen Stanford pictured in 2010 in Houston. He is serving a 110-year prison sentence having been convicted on 13 felony counts in 2012 related to his $7 billion ponzi scam that defrauded thousands of investors, including several hundred in Louisiana.

New Orleans-based law firm Fishman Haygood said it has joined other recent litigants in suing a group banks to recover a portion of the $7 billion defrauded by Allen Stanford a decade ago.

Fishman Haygood said in a press release that it has joined with San Antonio, Texas-based firm Castillo Snyder in filing the suit on behalf of 900 investors in an effort to recover $500 million from five banks that still hold Stanford assets.

The investor group includes more than 100 Louisiana-based investors, said Jim Swanson, managing partner at Fishman Haygood. He said the suit was filed in order to protect the group of investors who might lose out as statute of limitations on some alleged crimes, including securities fraud, approaches.

The claims were filed in federal court in Dallas against Trustmark National Bank, HSBC Bank, The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Independent Bank (which used to be Bank of Houston), and SG Private Banking of Switzerland, Thursday's statement said.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that a small group of individuals -- backed by hedge funds Contrarian Capital, CarVal Investors, Whitebox Advisors and Foxhill Capital Partners, all of which had purchased victims’ claims -- had filed suit against the same banks.

According to Phil Preis, a lawyer representing some Louisiana victims of the Stanford scam, the Swiss bank, SocGen, holds more than $200 million but has claimed in Swiss court that it has the right to hold onto those assets to protect itself against potential claims.

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, R-La., have in recent months both confronted the group of banks and demanded they return money to the victims.

The banks have disputed the claims.

Allen Stanford was convicted of fraud in 2012 and is serving a 110-year prison sentence.

Stanford bilked some 25,000 investors in more than 100 countries, and lived a lifestyle of island-hopping luxury.

Investors were told by Stanford's financial advisers that their money was safely held in CDs at Stanford International Bank in the Caribbean island of Antigua. The money for the CDs, however, funded his lavish habits.