Allen Stanford to spend rest of life in jail
HOUSTON, Texas, United States, Thursday June 14, 2012 – Despite eluding the maximum prison sentence of 230 years being sought by prosecutors, disgraced financier Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in jail for his fraud.
His sentence was handed down this morning by United States District Judge David Hittner who presided over his criminal trial and March 6, 2012, conviction.
According to Associated Press reports, Stanford gave rambling near 40-minute statement to the court in which he denied any wrongdoing. Stanford argued that he was a scapegoat and blamed the federal government and a United States-appointed receiver who took over his companies for tearing down his business empire and preventing his investors from getting any of their money back.
"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," Stanford told Judge Hittner.
According to the United States Justice for All Act of 2004, crime victims have a right to be "reasonably heard" at any public proceeding in the district court involving sentencing and those victimised by Stanford and his crimes were informed that they had a right to submit a Victim Impact Statement or letter in aid of sentencing to explain how the crimes affected them, including physical, emotional and/or financial losses.
However, in the end only two people spoke on behalf of Stanford's investors about how his fraud had affected their lives, according to the AP.
Given the thousands of alleged victims across the world, the courts had already decided that it would be impractical to accord all of the victims the right to be heard at sentencing, and victims were encouraged to send a written statement to David Hittner by June 1.
According to the Coalición Víctimas de Stanford América Latina (COVISAL), there are at least 23,597 non-US victims on record, who represent more than 84% of Stanford’s victims. Estimates by the Stanford International Victims Group are that there were as many as 30,000 clients of the Antigua-based financial services company in the latter heights of the two decades old business.
Still, the request for written statements did not rule out intervention by those victims who wished to attend the sentencing hearing, and those who wished to deliver their Victim Impact Statement in person were asked to contact Ellen Alexander with the United States Clerk's Office, also by June 1.
Despite a gag order being in place for all victims and witnesses associated with the trial, the court had stated that the verbal statements made today by the victims would be made in open court and would become a matter of public record.
This sentencing hearing came as a result of Standford’s March 6 conviction. At that time, Stanford, the former Board of Directors Chairman of Stanford International Bank (SIB), was found guilty of orchestrating a 20-year investment fraud scheme in which he misappropriated $7 billion to finance his personal businesses and lifestyle. Following a six-week trial, the jury found Stanford guilty on 13 of 14 counts in the indictment. Stanford was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct a U.S. SEC investigation, one count of obstruction of an SEC investigation and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Stanford was acquitted on one count of wire fraud.
Stanford had faced a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for the count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, each count of wire and mail fraud, and the count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and five years for the count of conspiracy to obstruct an US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation and the count of obstruction of an SEC investigation. However, his defence team asked for a maximum of 44 months, a sentence he could have completed within about eight months due to time served since he had been jailed since his arrest in June 2009.