- Stanford was convicted in March of 13 or 14 counts of fraud
- He had been running his Ponzi scheme for two decades
- Prosecutors sought maximum sentence of 230 years
- Stanford was once considered 605th richest man in the world
- Organized series of high-paying cricket matches between England and a Caribbean side
- Fellow Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff is serving 150-year prison term
sábado, 16 de junio de 2012
'You, sir, are a dirty, rotten scoundrel’
'You, sir, are a dirty, rotten, scoundrel’: Victim of disgraced financier Allen Stanford addresses man who defrauded investors out of $7billion as he is sentenced to 110 years in prison
PUBLISHED: 13:34 EST, 14 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:53 EST, 14 June 2012
Former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford was sentenced on Thursday to 110 years in prison for orchestrating one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history that had defrauded investors out of $7 billion in the course of 20 years.
Stanford’s glittering billionaire innings that led to him being listed as the world’s 605th richest person was declared over by a fellow Texan judge who ignored last-minute pleas from his lawyers to reduce the sentence to less than four years.
The courtroom in Houston was packed with more than 150 people – many of them the victims of Stanford’s various schemes.
Jailbird: Convicted financier Allen Stanford arrives at Federal Court in Houston for sentencing
Two of the estimated 17,000 victims of Stanford’s fraud were allowed to address the court.
Jaime Escalona, who represented Latin American victims, addressed the hearing before turning to stare directly at Stanford to tell him: ‘You, sir, are a dirty, rotten, scoundrel.’
The other victims’ spokesman, Angela Shaw, of the Stanford Victims Coalition, said of the fraudster: ‘Allen Stanford has stolen more than billions of dollars. He took our lives as we knew them.’ She said some 28,000 people had lost money in the scam.
Before learning his fate, Stanford, dressed in green prison garb, a wide grin on his face, delivered a rambling statement in which he claimed that he had done nothing wrong, and that he was a scapegoat.
Guilty: Stanford was convicted in March of 13 of 14 counts of fraud
He blamed the federal government and a U.S.-appointed receiver who took over his companies in 2009, saying they tore down his business empire and prevented his investors from getting any of their money back.
In March, following a seven-week trial, Stanford was convicted of 13 of 14 fraud-related counts, among them wire and mail fraud.
Speaking for more than 40 minutes, Stanford told a judge he's ‘not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness.’
Ever the showman, Stanford, 62, waved to his elderly mother, Sammie Stanford, who sat in the well of the court alongside Stanford’s daughter, Randi.
Prosecutors sought a 230-year prison term, the maximum possible sentence, while the defense asked for a maximum of 44 months.
The prosecutor told U.S. District Judge David Hitner: ‘230 years will not get anyone their money back but on sleepless nights they will know that he got the maximum.’
Stanford’s attorney, Ali Fazel, objected to the use of the term ‘Ponzi scheme,’ but Hittner said the evidence at trial justified the use of the term. During the hearing, the prosecutors also compared him to the infamous New York City financier Bernie Madoff, who is currently serving a 150-year prison term for similar crimes.
Stanford now plans to appeal against the conviction and sentence even though he was officially declared 'indigent' – penniless, which means that the government will have to spend tens of millions of dollars on court-appointed lawyers.
He said: 'I’m not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy but I will tell you I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t defraud anybody.'
The former honorary knight of Antigua was arrested in 2009. Since then, all of his assets have been frozen and he has been represented by public defenders.
The lengthy prison term does not bode well for Stanford, who was severely beaten by another inmate while waiting for trial in jail.
He was hospitalized and later transferred to a federal prison medical facility in Butner, North Carolina, as result of an addiction to anti-depressants, which he developed after the beating.
Cricket fan: The then Sir Allen Stanford poses with the England team during the Stanford 2020 Super Series match between England and Middlesex in 2008. He was later stripped of his knighthood
Traveling in style: Stanford's 120-foot yacht called the Sea Eagle is seen docked in Christiansted, St. Croix
His defense team had claimed that the trauma left their client unable to remember anything, but government psychiatrist eventually determined that the financier was faking it and set a trial date.
Stanford was once considered one of the wealthiest men in the U.S., with an estimated personal net worth of more than $1.9billion, a $7.7million mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, a moated mansion in Miami, which he called Tyecliffe Castle, and a 120-foot yacht named the Sea Eagle. His financial empire stretched from the U.S. to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Calling Stanford arrogant and without remorse, prosecutors said he used the money from investors who bought certificates of deposit, or CDs, from his bank in Antigua to fund a string of failed businesses, bribe regulators and pay for a lavish lifestyle that included yachts, a fleet of private jets and sponsorship of cricket tournaments.
Left in the lurch:: Stanford Bank headquarters in Panama City, Panama
From prince to pauper: The man who was once transporting chests filled with cash in his helicopter (left) has been declared indigent and having to rely on court-appointed lawyers
Stanford added moments before being led away: ‘If I live the rest of my life in prison...I will always be at peace with the way I conducted myself in business.’
The majority of the victims were small businesses or private investors, looking to cash-in on interest rates above bank rate.
Mike Bishop, of Houston, Texas, who lost round $1.4million, said outside the court: ‘This was a wholesale failure by government agencies who regulate companies such as Stanford. They are as responsible.
King of Con: Stanford has been compared to infamous financier Bernard Madoff, who is currently serving a 150-year prison term for a $50billion Ponzi scheme
‘Here in Texas, we believe in capital punishment but I would not wish it on Stanford, I want him to wake up every morning in his prison cell and reflect on what he did to us all.’
In June of 2008, Stanford signed a controversial deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for a series of five Twenty20 cricket games between England and a Caribbean side nicknamed the ‘Stanford All-Stars.’ The winners would collect a prize-fund of £13.6-million and the losers would get nothing.
During the tournament, Stanford was pictured sitting with the England players wives, at one sitting bouncing the wife of wicketkeeper Matt Prior on his knee.
His next trick was to fly into Lords cricket field in London aboard a personalized helicopter laden with treasure chests filled with cash. He planned to be the savior of English cricket, even though he admitted he never really understood the game.
By the time of his arrest, in February of 2009, the ECB has severed all ties with Stanford and his honorary knighthood - a Caribbean title provided by Antigua which he misleadingly claimed was bestowed upon him by the Queen Elizabeth II - had been stripped.
The jury that convicted Stanford also cleared the way for U.S. authorities to go after about $329million in stolen investor funds sitting in the financier’s frozen foreign bank accounts in London, Canada and Switzerland.
Three other former Stanford executives are scheduled for trial in September. A former Antiguan financial regulator was indicted and awaits extradition to the U.S.
Cheeky: During the 2008 Stanford Super Series, the financier was photographed bouncing the wife of English cricket player Matt Prior on his knee
Happier times: Allen Stanford poses with Stanford Superstars following their victory at the end of the Stanford 20/20 Super Series match between England and Stanford Superstars in 2008
Prosecutors said Stanford had treated his victims like 'roadkill.' They had asked for a prison sentence spanning more than two centuries, calling him a 'ruthless predator' who stole from investors 'simply to satisfy his own greed and vanity.'
He even claimed to be related to the founder of the elite Stanford University in California until it denied any relationship and then filed a trademark infringement against him for misusing its good name.
But Stanford’s pretense at old-money grandeur is nothing new. His wedding in Susan’s home town of Teague, Texas, on a hot September evening in 1975 was reported in the local newspaper as if it were a dynastic match, with the bride adorned in ‘Venice lace, lavishly appliqued on white English net’.
Teague, however, turned out to be a dusty rural town on the scorched cattle prairie of Texas. Susan’s father was a train conductor and her parents own a simple bungalow on a street where their nearest neighbor lives in a trailer.
In 2009, The Mail on Sunday reported that besides his wife of more than three decades, Susan, from whom Stanford got separated, he had several mistresses who were known as his ‘outside wives.’ He has had at least four children with these women.
At the time, Stanford’s then-81-year-old father, James Stanford, said: ‘I felt bad for Susan, him having all these outside wives and all these kids. I wouldn’t have approved of it but I heard about it after the fact.’
Susan was a dental hygienist and Stanford, whose father inherited an insurance business, ran a chain of health clubs. His mother was a nurse.
By the time he made his first fortune in Texas real estate in the 1980s, Stanford was already an accomplished womanizer. ‘He met his first outside wife through the business,’ his father said.
The Mail on Sunday has established that the tycoon has a son, Reid Allen Stanford, by a woman who goes by the name of Susan Stanford-Mahan.
Another outside wife, Beki Reeves-Stanford, lives on the smart Florida island of Key Biscayne. According to public records, she had a son, Robert Allen Stanford Jr, in 1993 whose father is Robert Allen Stanford Sr.
The third outside wife is Louise Sage, from Dartford, Kent, by whom he has two children – Ross and Allena. He introduced Ms Sage to his father.
The tycoon’s long-suffering wife Susan petitioned for a divorce in November of 2007.
Perhaps Allen Stanford’s undoing was that he began to believe in his own empire of lies.