Local Stanford Group Victims Hold Out Little Hope

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 27, 2010 12:00 am  

Shortly after Collier's bankruptcy petition was filed, his attorney, Frederick S. "Tripp" Wetzel III of Little Rock, said the potential client claims were included because "we're just disclosing what's required by the bankruptcy code."

Wetzel said he wasn't authorized by his client to comment further, and Collier didn't respond to a message left on his cell phone last week. In a Sept. 7 bankruptcy hearing, Collier was asked whether the clients who bought CDs were likely to recoup any money from the receivership.

"If I was going to guess, I'd say no," Collier replied.

The half-dozen Collier clients contacted by Arkansas Business last week showed no appetite for litigation. And although their names are public record, Arkansas Business agreed not to attach names to comments.

"We don't have a lawsuit against him. We don't intend to," one retiree said. "I think one of the reasons his clients haven't pursued suing him is because he doesn't have anything."

That's exactly what another client said: "I don't think it's going to be worth it."

Another former client said he wasn't a party to any lawsuits and wouldn't blame Collier anyway. Yet another former client, a Little Rock business owner, expressed surprise that his name was included in Collier's bankruptcy because "he doesn't owe me any money, and I haven't filed any lawsuit."

The business owner said he had heard from a friend that Stanford was offering above-market rates on CDs, and he approached Collier about the investment opportunity. He said Collier disclosed the fact that the CDs were uninsured. When the CD matured, the business owner cashed it out well before the collapse.

"But [Collier] individually or Stanford never owed me anything," he said.

Unlike Rick Riley - who apparently wasn't a Collier client, although the Democrat-Gazette didn't identify his Stanford adviser by name - none of the Collier clients contacted by Arkansas Business borrowed money to buy CDs. They did, however, think they were "safe" investments - and in his testimony in bankruptcy court, Collier said he sold the instruments as certificates of deposit that were safe.

Luther Sutter, representing the Pfeifer Sutter Family LLC, asked Collier under oath whether he knew that FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, had cautioned Stanford not to sell the CDs in November 2007.

"I had no idea," Collier answered.



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