Convicted Ponzi Schemer Stanford Sentenced to 110 Years In Federal Prison

Convicted Ponzi Schemer Stanford Sentenced to 110 Years In Federal Prison

HOUSTON - (Mealey's) The federal judge in Texas overseeing the criminal case of convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford sentenced Stanford to 110 years in federal prison on June 14 (United States of America v. Robert Allen Stanford, No. 09-342, S.D. Texas; See March 2012, Page 5).

U.S. Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas' judgment of 1,320 months, or 110 years, came after a jury on March 6 found Stanford guilty of 13 of 14 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding and obstruction of an SEC proceeding.  He was found not guilty on one charge of wire fraud. 

Stanford received 240 months, or 20 years, in prison for his convictions on the wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud counts; 60 months each on the conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation and obstruction of an SEC investigation counts, to be served consecutively; and another 240 months each for five counts of mail fraud and a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, to be served concurrently with each other and with the previous counts.

Judge Hittner recommended to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that Stanford be "imprisoned in the most secure facility that the BOP finds is commensurate with his security needs up to and including a U.S. Penitentiary" and remanded Stanford to the custody of U.S. marshals.

Criminal Proceeding

The verdict brought to an end a criminal proceeding that took nearly three years to bring to trial due to a number of issues.

After a federal grand jury in the District Court issued a 21-count indictment charging Stanford with conspiring to commit securities fraud and money laundering and conspiring to obstruct and obstructing an investigation of the SEC in connection with his alleged operation of the Ponzi scheme, the court granted the government's motion for revocation of release and committed Stanford to pretrial detention on June 30, 2009, concluding that he was a flight risk.

On Jan. 26, 2011, Judge Hittner granted in part and denied in part Stanford's motion for relief and medical treatment after Stanford suffered a head injury during an altercation with another inmate and had surgery to repair facial fractures.  Stanford was committed to the custody of the U.S. attorney general after Judge Hittner heard testimony from three psychiatrists who cited a number of contributing factors that could have led to Stanford's mental condition as a result of the injuries.

Expert Testimony

Then, on June 21, 2011, Judge Hittner issued an order delaying the start of Stanford's criminal trial, which was slated to begin Sept. 12, until January 2012.  Stanford moved for a continuance on Dec. 28, which Judge Hittner denied as "unwarranted," and in a Jan. 5 order, the judge refused to strike certain expert testimony finding Stanford competent to stand trial and ordered Stanford's defense team to prepare for trial.

On March 8, the jury returned a special verdict requiring Stanford to forfeit $330 million held in 29 financial institutions abroad, and on March 20, Stanford moved for a new trial, claiming that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.  Judge Hittner denied the motion on March 22.

Stanford appealed his conviction to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals yesterday.

Counsel

Stanford is represented by Robert A. Scardino Jr. and Ali R. Fazel of Scardino Fazel in Houston and Lee H. Shidlofsky of Visser Shidlofsky in Austin, Texas.

The U.S. government is represented by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson in Houston, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa in Houston and William Stellmach and Andrew H. Warran of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

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