The game's up: Stanford found guilty in notorious $7bn Ponzi scheme saga

Stanford was listed by Forbes as the world's 605th richest man before his world fell apart

Allen Stanford, the globe-trotting Texan playboy who once claimed that his billion-dollar fortune would transform English cricket, has been found guilty of organising one of the world's largest Ponzi schemes.

A jury in Houston last night convicted the 61-year-old financier of defrauding investors of almost $7bn. He was found guilty on 13 of the 14 charges against him, including conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction of justice, and now faces up to 20 years in prison.

The verdict followed a blockbuster trial in which Stanford was accused of illegally siphoning off investors' cash from his banks and other finance businesses to fund a lavish lifestyle over a period of 20 years. His collapsed pyramid scheme was second in size only to that of Bernie Madoff's.

Stanford, dressed in a prison jumpsuit, stared at the floor as the verdict was announced. In the gallery, his mother and children hugged each other, while one of his daughters began crying.

It was a far cry from the bombastic scene at Lord's in 2008, when Stanford emerged from a helicopter carrying $20m in new banknotes, which he claimed was to be prize money for a new professional 20/20 tournament. Traditionalists at the Home of Cricket bemoaned the debasement of their sport, and a year later they gasped when, in Antigua, Stanford was photographed nonchalantly bouncing the wives and girlfriends of the England team on his knee.

The court heard that the money in Stanford's briefcase that day was the proceeds of a spectacular fraud. Over two decades, he lured clients to hand over large sums of money in exchange for "certificates of deposit" in a bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Investors were told that their cash was being safely placed in stocks, bonds, and other securities, where it was earning too-good-to-be-true interest rates. Instead, it was being spirited away through Swiss bank accounts to fund Stanford's colourful lifestyle.

According to prosecutors, Stanford used the company as "his own personal ATM," and fathered six children with several different, younger women. At the height of his powers, he owned several yachts and private jets and was listed by Forbes as the world's 605th richest man.

Large bribes were paid to foreign officials to keep regulators at bay, and still more investor cash was blown on disastrous, but often extravagant business ventures. He promised, for example, to spend $100m on creating a global 20/20 cricket franchise, but despite the fawning support of the England and Wales cricket board, the scheme never took off. When Stanford's edifice crumbled, following his arrest by the FBI in 2009, the 30,000 investors, who thought they had a share in $8bn of assets, discovered that around 92 per cent of their money was missing. Most have as yet been paid back only pennies per dollar they had invested.

During his six-week trial, Stanford's attorneys sought to blame financial irregularities on his right-hand-man and former university room-mate, Jim Davis, who he claimed handled all of the company's finances. But prosecutors struck a plea-bargain which saw Davis testify against him.

Stanford then declined to give evidence in his own defence, claiming that a beating he endured in prison had left him dependent on painkillers and unable to remember large portions of his career in business. The jury clearly didn't buy that claim, acquitting him only of one count of wire fraud. His chances of ever leaving prison now rest with the judge, David Hittner, who must decide whether he will serve his sentences together or consecutively.

Stanford's attorneys continue to insist that his bank would have remained solvent had the US government not arrested him in 2009. They say they expect to appeal.

Timeline: How the billionaire lost it all

1986 Allen Stanford founds Stanford International Bank.

12 June 2008 Stanford rises to fame in the UK after agreeing to finance five England cricket matches with a prize fund of $20 million, but has to apologise in October after being filmed at a game with his arms around England players' wives and girlfriends.

17 February 2009 Federal agents raid Stanford's banking offices, later accusing him of operating a "massive Ponzi scheme."

26 September 2009 Stanford enters hospital after being beaten by inmates in prison, leading to his lawyers claiming he is not fit for trial due to amnesia caused by injuries.

24 January 2012 Trial begins.

6 March 2012: Found guilty.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
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

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence