Florida regulators never acted on troubling findings regarding banker Stanford


MIAMI -- When Florida regulator Keith Jasper arrived at the opulent Miami trust offices of billionaire banker Allen Stanford in 2001, he expected to see records showing that money turned over to the company was safely invested.

But when the veteran bank examiner asked for the reports, he was told there were none.

In fact, records of the millions of dollars that flowed through the office had been shredded.

State regulators could have demanded the documents, or even taken steps to shut down the office to protect investors.

None of that happened.

Over the next eight years, Stanford's offices were allowed to continue selling investments, destroying records and sending money overseas on private jets in what prosecutors are now calling an enormous Ponzi scheme.

Twice, Florida regulators visited the office after it opened in 1998, but state supervisors never acted on the troubling findings, records show.

''I tried to write it plain enough so they could see what was going on,'' said Jasper, 65, now retired from the state Department of Banking and Finance. ``More should have been done.''

The destruction of records -- and the state's failure to stop it -- created crucial gaps that allowed the Miami office to sell millions in controversial securities without regulators questioning where the money was invested, The Miami Herald found.

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