Stanford’s victims get their day in court today
Sentencing hearing allows those victimized by Allen Stanford to be heard.
HOUSTON, Texas, United States, Thursday June 14, 2012 – When convicted criminal financier Robert Allen Stanford attends court today to hear the outcome of his sentencing it will likely be in front of scores of his former clients who saw their savings drained thanks to his ponzi scheme.
This is thanks to the United States Justice for All Act of 2004, which states that crime victims have a right to be "reasonably heard" at any public proceeding in the district court involving sentencing.
Anyone who suffered losses as a result of the crimes committed by Stanford 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 this case, given the thousands of alleged victims across the world, according to a statement by the US Department of Justice, the court decided that it would be impractical to accord all of the victims the right to be heard at sentencing, therefore victims were encouraged to send a written statement to the presiding judge, United States District Judge 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 does not rule out intervention by those victims who wish to attend the sentencing hearing in person.
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.
Again, due to the number of victims in this case, the court said it could not guarantee that every victim who wished to speak would get an opportunity to do so and, depending on the number of victims who wished to speak, those who were allowed to attend might find their speaking time limited.
Despite a gag order being in place for all victims and witnesses associated with the trial, the court has stated that the verbal statements made today by the victims would be made in open court and would become a matter of public record.
Sentencing has been set for this morning (June 14) before Judge Hittner. Stanford faces 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.
This sentencing hearing comes as a result of Standford’s March 6, 2012, 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.