Posted Jun 07, 2012 04:42 pm CDT
Convicted in March by a federal jury in Houston in a fraud case described by prosecutors as a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, onetime Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford is now about to be sentenced.
Prosecutors are asking for the 230-year maximum prison term–80 years more than the 150 years Bernard Madoff got in an even-more-massive swindle of investors in a long-running Ponzi scheme operated under the guise of a hedge fund, Reuters reports.
Defense lawyers say a sentence of 31 to 44 months would be appropriate. That amounts to time served, meaning that Stanford, who has been held as a flight risk since 2009, would be released from prison almost immediately if U.S. District Judge David Hittner agrees, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The government argues that the 62-year-old Stanford, who largely bilked his victims through selling them so-called certificates of deposit in an offshore bank in Antigua that he controlled, is a career criminal. His “web of bribery and obstruction concealed his crimes for 20 years,” the feds contend.
The defense points out that Stanford has no prior criminal record, but has filed its brief with Hittner under seal and attorney Robert Scardino is prohibited by a gag order from commenting to the media prior to the sentencing hearing.
The judge is expected to pronounce sentence on Stanford on June 14.