Thomas Raffanello, global director of security for Stanford Financial Group (SFG), now faces charges of obstruction of justice based on claims that he directed employees at SFG’s Fort Lauderdale office to shred evidence of fraud.
In February, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against SFG (.pdf) in Texas alleging that the double-digit returns it promised potential customers was part of a fraudulent scheme. Prosecutors obtained a temporary restraining order (.pdf) that expressly prohibited any attempt to destroy documents (among a litany of other bad behavior). In the indictment filed against Raffanello (.pdf), federal prosecutors allege that on the day SFG received the SEC’s complaint and court order, Raffanello and another executive corresponded by email and planned to hire a commercial shredding service to pay a visit to SFG ‘s office so they could unload a 95 gallon container of evidence.
Apparently, during their hurry to destroy the evidence, they did not manage to delete the emails discussing their plan. This reminds me of something a friend once told me: if you are setting out to bury the truth, remember to bury the shovel too.