R. Allen Stanford
R. Allen Stanford (born March 24, 1950) is an international financier sentenced to 110 years in prison for creating a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
Stanford was born and raised in Mexia, Texas. His father, James Stanford, is former mayor of Mexia and a member of the Board of Directors of Stanford Financial Group. His mother, Sammie, is a nurse. After his parents divorced in 1959, Stanford and his brother went to live with their mother. Both of his parents remarried. Stanford graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1974, he earning a B.A. degree in finance from Baylor University. Stanford started in business by owning a gym that failed. He then went into business with his father speculating in Houston, Texas real estate during an economic downturn in the mid-1980s.
Stanford moved to the Caribbean in the 1980s, first to Montserrat, then to Antigua. He started a bank on the island of Montserrat in 1985 called the Guardian International Bank. He moved the bank to Antigua during a British crackdown on Montserrat's offshore-banking industry in the 1980s, renaming it Stanford International Bank. Using the bank, Stanford controlled a financial enterprize that included airlines and the largest newspaper on Antigua.
In 2009, United States prosecutors charged Stanford with selling certificates of deposits through his bank and telling his investors that the money would be invested in stocks and bonds. However, Stanford used $2 billion to invest in his own businesses and real estate. To cover this up, Stanford bribed an Antiguan regulator and Stanford's outside auditor. Stanford tried to blame his chief financial officer, James Davis. Davis plead guilty to fraud and then testified against Stanford.
After Stanford's arrest, he claimed that his memory was impaired by a prison beating that resulted in injuries to his head in September 2009. However, U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner rejected his claim and found that Stanford was ready to stand trial. In March 2012, a jury convicted Stanford on 13 of 14 counts, including fraud, conspiracy to commit money lanudering, and obstruction of justice. Hittner sentenced Stanford to serve 110 years in prison. Since Stanford is 62 years old at the time, it is expected that he will remain in jail for the rest of his life. Hittner also ordered Stanford to forfeit $5.9 billion to his bank depositors. It is doubtful that the depositors will get much of their money back as the bank's receiver has only located about $500 million in assets.
Prior to his sentencing, Stanford told the court, "I am not a thief." He also denied running a Ponzi scheme.
- Daniel Gilbert and Jean Eagleham. "Stanford Hit With 110 Years", Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2012, p. C1.
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