IT Specialist Describes Stanford's "Physical Abuse" Of Laptops

Attorneys for R. Allen Stanford questioned several of the Houston financier's former employees yesterday. Not all the testimony was in their client's favor.

IT specialist Sohil Merchant set up the network linking Stanford’s offices in North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe. He also served as Stanford’s personal technology manager, helping Stanford set up his laptops and Blackberries.

Merchant said he continued to work for the Stanford companies for three months after the receiver took control in February 2009. At that time, he said, his responsibility was to dismantle electronic communications for the US offices. The defense has argued Stanford’s companies only ceased to function because the receiver deliberately shut them down.

On cross examination, Merchant testified he had to replace Stanford’s laptop between twenty to thirty times. He described the reason for the frequent breakdowns as “physical abuse.” He said Stanford had destroyed one by throwing it against a wall, another by dropping it off his yacht into the water.

Merchant also testified that Stanford had his personal cell phones registered in Merchant’s name. He said the reason was Stanford’s concern that he was being tracked.

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Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...