2012-03-09 / Top Stories

Meeks' Buddy Found Guilty Of Fraud

By Howard Schwach

Congressman Gregory Meeks, left and financier Alan Stanford, right. Congressman Gregory Meeks, left and financier Alan Stanford, right. Billionaire Texas financier Alan Stanford, a man with close ties to Congressman Gregory Meeks and who has held several high-stakes fundraisers for the local Representative, was found guilty of 13 of 14 counts of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice in a federal court on Tuesday.

He faces 230 years in prison when he is sentenced next month

The government had charged Stanford with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors painted Stanford as a high-flying con man with ties to several prominent political figures.

According to federal sources and published reports in the New York Times and New York Post, Meeks was one of the major recipients of Stanford’s largess.

In 2008, for example, Stanford held a fundraiser for Meeks in St. Croix.

Meeks reportedly intervened for Stanford with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a disagreement in which a man was arrested by the government.

Meeks is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for taking a payoff disguised as a loan from Queens businessman Ed Ahmad, who is under arrest for his involvement in a mortgage scam.

Evidence developed by the New York Post, shows that Meeks, Ahmad and Stanford are tied together by emails from Meeks attempting to get Ahmad some face time with Stanford at an Antigua cricket match in 2008.

One February 2008 email from a top executive at Stanford Financial Group that was marked “Importance: High,” said, “Greg Meeks and Ed Ahmad have both called this afternoon inquiring about the status of Ahmad’s VIP-box invitation. Have we an update.”

The email was sent to the company’s top legal official and shows that Meeks was determined to get his pal invited to a cricket match with Stanford so that the two could meet and discuss business.

The Post said that Stanford would also throw some money at the Congressman, hosting the lavish fundraiser that raised nearly $14,000 for Meeks’ campaign fund.

At the fundraiser, the report says, the 80 guests dined on lobster and caviar and drank champagne at $200 a bottle. Tickets began at $1,000 and went way up from there.

The cost of the catering alone ran $25,000, but Meeks only reimbursed Stanford for $3,591 and says he raised only $34,000, although records show that Stanford and his employees donated nearly $14,000 on their own.

The Post says that Meeks’ connection dates back to at least 2003, when the Congressman and his wife travelled to Antigua and Barbados, a junket financed by the Inter-American Economic Council, a group backed by Stanford.

It was the first of many trips taken by Meeks and his wife with the organization footing the bill.

In 2006, Stanford reportedly asked Meeks to use his influence with Chavez.

The billionaire wanted Meeks to tell Chavez to start a criminal investigation into a whistleblower at Stanford’s Venezuelan bank.

Meeks was heard on a speakerphone telling Stanford that he would intervene, according to a story in the Miami Herald.

Meeks was soon in Venezuela, reportedly thanking the dictator for providing cheap heating oil to American families.

The whistleblower was arrested and has since disappeared into the nation’s justice system, reports say.

Last year, Meeks earned the dubious distinction of being listed as one of Congress’ “Most Corrupt Members” by the Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington.

The watchdog group said on its website that it put Meeks on the list “because of his involvement in a string of shady deals.”

Meeks blew off the distinction, saying that the group had no credibility and that Congress members often were tqrgeted by marginal groups on both sides of the political spectrum.

Meeks sits on both the House Financial Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

He was one of three Democratic congressmen who voted for the Latin American Free Trade Agreement, angering many of his Democrtic colleagues.

A spokesperson for Meeks said that “The economic development of the Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been a focus of the Congressman for over a decade.”

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