R. Allen Stanford Convicted on 13 Counts Over Ponzi Scheme

A jury in Houston on Tuesday found R. Allen Stanford guilty on 13 of the 14 charges he faced in connection with operating one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history. According to prosecutors, Stanford scammed more than $7 billion from investors in his scheme, which he ran for 20 years before being caught. Stanford was found not guilty on one count of wire fraud.

Of Stanford’s 13 convictions, the more serious carry prison terms of up to 20 years, but he may serve much longer if the judge orders him to serve the sentences consecutively. Prosecutors say Stanford ran his scheme for 20 years, bilking investors out of billions of dollars by selling certificates of deposit for the bank he owned in Antigua and then using the bank as his personal ATM. The government’s star witness in the case was a former aide to Stanford named James Davis, who testified that he and Stanford faked documents and created financial reports to calm nervous investors and fool regulators.

Davis also testified that Stanford funneled millions of dollars from his bank, Stanford International Bank, into a secret Swiss account that Stanford used at his leisure. Prosecutors alleged that Stanford bought his girlfriend a castle, his daughter lived in a multi-million dollar Houston condo, and the man lived an extremely luxurious lifestyle. Davis has pleaded to three criminal counts and is awaiting sentencing.

Stanford’s lawyers attempted to paint a picture of Stanford as a visionary, who rarely took part in his firm’s daily activities. They tried to pin all the blame for the illegal activities on Davis, who had served as chief financial officer for Stanford Financial Group, which authorities seized in February 2009. After the shutdown of his business, Stanford was declared indigent by the courts and his defense was paid for with public funds.