Former Texas Tycoon Allen Stanford Sentenced to 110 Years in Prison for $7 Billion Ponzi Scheme

Former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison for scamming investors out of more than $7 billion over 20 years in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

Prosecutors had asked that Stanford be given the maximum sentence of 230 years in prison after a jury convicted the one-time billionaire in March on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts. Stanford was convicted of conspiracy and wire and mail fraud charges after a seven-week trial.

During his sentencing hearing, Stanford gave rambling statement to the court in which he denied he did anything wrong. Speaking for more than 40 minutes, he said was a scapegoat and that it was the federal government and U.S. appointed receiver who took over his companies that prevented his investors from getting their money back.

“I’m not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy,” Stanford told  Judge Hittner. “I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t defraud anybody.”

Stanford was once estimated to have a net worth of more than $2 billion. After his arrest, all of his assets were seized and he had to rely on court-appointed attorneys to defend him.

Calling Stanford arrogant and remorseless, prosecutors said he used the money from investors who bought certificates of deposit, or CDs, from his bank on the Caribbean island nation of 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.

Defense attorneys portrayed Stanford, 62, as a visionary entrepreneur who made money for investors and conducted legitimate business deals. They accused the prosecution’s star witness — James M. Davis, the former chief financial officer for Stanford’s various companies — of being behind the fraud and tried to discredit him by calling him a liar and tax cheat.

The jury that convicted Stanford also cleared the way for U.S. authorities to go after about $330 million in stolen investor funds sitting in the financier’s frozen foreign bank accounts in Canada, England and Switzerland.

Stanford and his former executives also are fighting a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that accuses them of fraud.

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