Jury Finds That Stanford Must Turn Over $330M in 29 Foreign Financial Accounts

Jury Finds That Stanford Must Turn Over $330M in 29 Foreign Financial Accounts

HOUSTON - (Mealey's) Two days after finding Texas financier R. Allen Stanford guilty on 13 criminal charges relating to his operation of a massive Ponzi scheme, a federal jury in Texas on Mar. 8 returned a special verdict finding that Stanford must forfeit $330 million held in 29 financial institutions abroad, according to a press release issued by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas (United States of America v. Robert Allen Stanford, No. 09-342, S.D. Texas; See January 2012, Page 19).

According to the press release, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas jury deliberated for half a day before returning its latest verdict, a shorter time period than the five days it took to find Stanford guilty of 13 counts of wire fraud, five counts of 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.  That verdict was handed down on March 6.

According to the press release, Stanford's sentencing is scheduled for June 14 at 10 a.m. CST.

Wire Fraud

Stanford was found guilty on 13 of 14 counts.  He was found not guilty on one charge of wire fraud.  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 District 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 David 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 sustained in the altercation.

Expert Testimony

Then, on June 21, 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.

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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