In the decade since the Stanford collapse, there’s been a lot of time for introspection. Why was Baton Rouge so ripe for this scam?
A lot of people have asked those questions. A sociologist even wrote about it.
In 2015, Camilo Leslie, now an associate professor at Tulane University, published his doctoral dissertation on the Stanford Group Ponzi scheme and how the firm cultivated and developed the reputation for trustworthiness that ultimately enabled it to rope in so many investors.
As Business Report details in a story accompanying its most recent cover story, although Stanford had victims all over the world, including many in Houston, Miami and Latin America, Leslie believes a unique set of factors made Baton Rouge “prime hunting ground.”
A big part of it was the faith or religiosity in this Deep South, Bible Belt community. Many Stanford victims were congregants of large, well-respected megachurches, like Bethany and Healing Place, where several of Stanford’s local advisors were also prominent, active members.
The Exxon connection also played a role in facilitating the scandal.