July 30 -August 1, 2010 -- Bush's ambassador to eastern Caribbean protected Stanford operations
Mary K. Ourisman, the Texas-born socialite wife of Maryland car dealer Mandy Ourisman, helped provide diplomatic and legal cover for jailed former Stanford International Bank chief Allen Stanford, according to Stanford insiders who spoke to WMR. Mary Ourisman was George W. Bush's ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States, which include Antigua and Barbuda, the headquarters for Stanford's one-time global banking and financial services empire that collapsed in 2009 after it was discovered to be a Ponzi scheme. Stanford is in prison in Texas and has been refused bail as a flight risk -- Stanford is also a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. He is scheduled to go on trial in January 2011, conveniently two months after the congressional election in November. Stanford's campaign contributions fell into the coffers of congressional members of both Democrats and Republicans.
However, as WMR previously reported, Stanford International Bank also became a replacement for the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) as a vehicle for drug money laundering and other covert operations on behalf of the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
Mary Ourisman, a political fundraiser for Bush and other GOP candidates and a close friend of former First Lady Laura Bush, became U.S. ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States in 2006. In her job, Ourisman ensured that Stanford's financial operations in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as in two other Caribbean nations where she was credentialed as ambassador, St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, were protected from federal regulators.
To provide even more protection for Stanford's money laundering ans other covert operations, Stanford showered GOP and Democratic senators with large campaign contributions, including $83,000 for John Cornyn of Texas and $950,000 for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and particularly, Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Menendez, who maintains close connections to the Cuban exile community in Florida and new Jersey and its CIA veteran operatives, has refused to investigate the Stanford fraud on behalf of its victims and has tried to block any Senate investigation of Stanford's links to the CIA and top government officials, Democratic and Republican.
It is also noteworthy that Texas was the only U.S. state to have entered into a financial regulatory agreement with Antigua. The Texas Department Banking and the Antigua and Barbuda International Financial Sector Regulatory authority signed the agreement on July 26, 2001. More amazingly, the agreement was signed while Antigua was subject to a U.S. Treasury advisory warning of potential fraud.
Ourisman sat idly in Bridgetown, Barbados as Antigua's Attorney General, Errol Cort, who had also been Stanford's personal attorney on the island, changed the island nation's money laundering laws to the benefit of Stanford and his CIA overseers, without a peep from any of the regulatory agencies in Washington. Cort, who is now the National Security Minister of Antigua and has used his position to make things uncomfortable for Stanford fraud investigators traveling to the island, also served on the board of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which took over Stanford's Bank of Antigua after Stanford empire collapsed in 2009. Stanford had become a political kingpin in Antigua, exercising influence over the previous Lester Bird government and its successor, the present Baldwin Spencer government -- without any interference from Ourisman in Barbados or the State Department.
Even today, Antigua's ambassador to the United States, Debra-Mae Lovell, the wife of Antigua's corruption-tainted Finance Minister Harold Lovell, spends most of her time in Washington acting as a public relations flack for Antigua and ridiculing the former Stanford investors who were defrauded by the Ponzi scheme -- a scheme facilitated by a corrupt Antiguan government. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, more concerned about the continuation of U.S. military basing rights on Antigua, has warmly embraced Ambassador Lovell and members of her government and has lavished hundreds of millions of dollars of aid on Antigua.
The bodies have piled up among those who were most familiar with Stanford's operations. On February 25, 2009, WMR reported, "No one will ever know just how Charlesworth Shelley Hewlett, who ran CAS Hewlett & Company out of a small office sandwiched between fish and chips shops on South Bury Road in Enfield in north London, came to be the accountant for Allen Stanford's $50 billion financial empire that included Stanford International Bank (SIB). That is because Mr. Hewlett, known as a quiet gray-haired man to those who had offices in his north London office block, died 'peacefully' a few weeks before the Stanford scandal hit the front pages. Hewlett was 73 but no one knows the reason for Hewlett's death." Hewlett also maintained an office on St. John's Street, in St. John's, the capital of Antigua.
Stogniew, who headed a one-man company in Florida, Stogniew and Associates, provided risk analysis services for Stanford. Stoniew produced a flimsy three-page risk analysis report for Stanford in 2003. It mostly consisted of disclaimers. Gerry Stogniew, who founded his company in 1980 and resided in Seminole, Florida, died in July 2008. The firm was taken over Stogniew's daughter. Oddly, the professional staff for Stogniew and Associates are only listed by their initials. Federal Election Commission records indicate Stogniew donated to the campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1987 and Florida Republicans Bill McCollum in 1999 and Katherine Harris in 2005.
Allen Stanford and Mary Ourisman shared more than an interest in protecting Stanford International Bank from nosy regulators: they were both born in the small Texas town of Mexia, Ourisman in 1946 and Stanford in 1950. The town's other "famous" celebrity: the late Anna Nicole Smith, who died from a suspected lethal drug overdose in Hollywood, Florida in 2007.