The Miami criminal lawyers representing two former employees of alleged "Ponzi" artist Allen Stanford requested dismissals from a judge in federal court. Tom Raffanello and Bruce Perraud are currently charged with shredding documents purportedly related to the Stanford case. Stanford is currently being held in a federal jail awaiting trial. He is under indictment for operating a $7 billion organized scheme to defraud or "Ponzi" scheme. A "Ponzi" scheme exists when older investors are paid from the investments of newer investors. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Rosenbaum presided over the motions and has yet to rule in favor of the prosecution or the defense.
Raffanello, a former chief in the Miami DEA office, and Perraud were employed by the Stanford Financial Group in the security department until the massive fraud was uncovered by investigators. Raffanello was the chief of global security. Both defendants face four count indictments in federal court related to document destruction. The motions to dismiss revolve around the unavailability of Anthony Belovich, also a former employee of Stanford. Belovich is also a former DEA agent.
Belovich is listed as a witness by the federal prosecutors and named as unindicted co-conspirator in numerous court papers. The Miami criminal defense lawyers representing the defendants have alleged prosecutor misconduct as the basis for their motion to dismiss. They claim that Belovich can provide exculpatory evidence on behalf of their clients. To date, federal prosecutors have not offered Belovich immunity. Unless they do, Belovich will invoke his 5th Amendment rights and refuse to testify if he asked to take the witness stand in federal court. Prosecutors deny any misconduct because they claim that Belovich was not truthful with federal agents and is still under investigation, and therefore cannot offer him immunity.
Raffanello's and Perraud's defense lawyers believe that Belovich can testify that all of the shredded documents were backed up on a computer server. If that is the case, copies of the documents existed, and therefore both individuals were not in violation of a court order to preserve the evidence. Both defendants are currently set for trial on January 19, 2009. They are facing up to 50 years in prison if they are fond guilty on all four charges. The prosecutors may be forced to give Belovich immunity or lose the case entirely.
Dismissal Sought in Stanford Document Shred Case, The Associated Press, December 23, 2009.