White-Collar Crime

Federal Judge Sentences Onetime Billionaire Allen Stanford to 110 Years in Long-Running $6B Fraud

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Defiant to the end, onetime Texas billionaire financier R. Allen Stanford blamed the feds for what prosecutors have portrayed as a $5.9 billion to $7 billion swindle of investors and said he was at peace with his own conduct before he was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Houston to 110 years in prison.

“I’m not up here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness. I’m up here to tell you from my heart I didn’t run a Ponzi scheme,” Stanford told U.S. District Judge David Hittner.

Stanford said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission caused the collapse of his business, spooking investors who had purchased so-called certificates of deposit in an offshore bank Stanford controlled with public claims of malfeasance. After that, the feds, he said, closed down a viable operation and sold assets at fire sale prices, the New York Times (reg. req.) recounted.

Absent the interference by the feds, “we could have paid off every depositor and still have substantial assets remaining,” Stanford insisted.

Federal prosecutor William J. Stellmach called Stanford’s version of what happened “obscene” and said he treated his victims like “roadkill.”

Stanford said he felt bad for those who lost money, but not until the courtroom was clearing out did he apologize directly to his victims, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Stanford Watch blog.

“He had tears in his eyes and said, ‘I’m so sorry,’” recounted Angela Shaw, a defrauded investor who also spoke during the sentencing hearing, after it had concluded. “But then he said, ‘This is wrong and you’ll have to sue the United States government. They did this.’ ”

She said the comments didn’t show genuine contrition and confirmed her belief in Stanford’s “sociopathic behavior.”

The 62-year-old took a deep breath and sip of water after learning that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, unless he launches a successful appeal.

The BBC News, the Nation Now page of the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal Deal Journal also have stories.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Feds Seek 230-Year Max for Convicted Ponzi Schemer Allen Stanford; Defense Asks for 31 to 44 Months”

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