Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole

 

Allen Stanford, the Texan financier who bankrolled English cricket, will spend the rest of his life in prison, a Houston judge ruled last night, sentencing the pyramid schemer to 110 years without parole.

In dramatic courtroom scenes, Stanford came face to face for the first time with some of the 28,000 victims of his $7bn fraud, all of whom came dressed in black to symbolise the loss of - in many cases - their entire life savings.

“You, sir, are a dirty rotten scoundrel,” said Jaime Escalona, representing Latin American victims, who were lured into investing with Stanford’s Antigua-based bank through a continent-wide network of branch offices. US investor Angela Shaw said she knew of people who had become suicidal after learning that their money was gone.

Their anger had been heightened by a 35-minute diatribe delivered by Stanford at the start of the sentencing hearing, in which he continued to protest his innocence and bitterly blamed “Gestapo” tactics by US regulators for destroying his bank and impoverishing his customers. “If I live the rest of my life in prison, I will always be at peace with the way I conducted myself in business,” he told Judge David Hittner. “I am not a thief... I'm not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy. I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn't defraud anybody.”

Prosecutors called his speech “obscene” and said that Stanford personally spent more than eight times as much money as Bernard Madoff ever did, dipping into Stanford International Bank to fund cricket sponsorships, personal jets, multiple homes and numerous flights of business fantasy that were never going to pay off for investors. The $7.2bn that the bank claimed to have in assets was nearer to $500m, regulators discovered when they charged Stanford in 2009. The financier’s defence lawyers argued that the value of the assets - plots of land to be developed for tourism in Antigua and Stanford’s cricket investments, among them - only plunged because the regulators moved in.

Stanford, 62, took a deep breath and a sip of water after hearing the sentence, which fell midway between the 230 years demanded by prosecutors and the “time served” that defence lawyers suggested. Stanford has been in jail since 2009, and suffered a prison beating that delayed his trial for a year. He was convicted on 13 of 14 fraud and conspiracy counts in March.

As well as the 110 year prison term, Judge Hittner ordered forfeiture of up to $5.9bn in assets. That clears the way for prosecutors to go after $330m in Stanford’s frozen bank accounts in the UK, Canada and Switzerland. The 110 year sentence compares to 150 years for Bernard Madoff, whose $50bn investment business was also a fraud, but who had pleaded guilty and used his sentencing hearing to apologise to his thousands of victims. Judge Hittner called Stanford’s one of the most “egregious criminal frauds” in history.

Just four years ago, Stanford was the picture of a brash Texan playboy, sweeping into English cricket with the promise of $100m in prize money for Twenty20 tournaments, bouncing the wives and girlfriends of the England cricket team on his knee, and caring not a damn about the outrage he was causing. “Yes,” Mr Stanford answered in a television interview around that time, “it is fun being a billionaire – but it’s hard work.”

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior DBA (SQL Server, T-SQL, SSIS, SSAS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Senior Project Manager

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment