TEXAS, United States, Monday November 2, 2015 – A United States federal appellate court in Houston has upheld the 110-year jail term imposed on disgraced financier and former Caribbean playboy Allen Stanford.
The American fraudster was convicted in 2012 for masterminding a Ponzi scheme involving his Stanford International Bank (SIB) in Antigua.
Sir Allen Stanford, as he was known at the time, was accused of fleecing about 25,000 investors worldwide and lived an extravagant jet-setting lifestyle in which he enjoyed power and privilege.
Investors were assured that their money was safely held in certificates of deposit (CDs) at SIB in Antigua, but law enforcement authorities maintained that the money was used to satisfy Stanford’s lavish tastes.
Following a jury trial, Robert Allen Stanford was convicted of a raft of charges, including several counts of wire fraud and mail fraud; conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation; obstruction of a SEC investigation; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
After serving three of his 110 years behind bars, Stanford filed his appeal on his own behalf, without an attorney.
A three-judge panel of the fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Stanford’s claims that the district court lacked jurisdiction; that his indictment was defective and was constructively amended at trial; and that the jury received faulty instructions.
The panel also dismissed Stanford’s claims that the district court erred in denying his request for continuance; that the US government withheld evidence that was favourable to him; and that the trial judge favoured the government.
Also dismissed were Stanford’s claims that simultaneous civil and criminal proceedings constituted double jeopardy; that authorities seized certain evidence in violation of the Fourth Amendment; that cumulative error denied him a fair trial; and that the government failed to provide exculpatory evidence.
Stanford, who maintained at his sentencing that he neither ran a Ponzi scheme nor defrauded anyone, complained in his appeal about the use of the term “Ponzi scheme” at his trial.
The Court responded that the term “captured the essence” of his fraud scheme.
The judges said that evidence presented at the seven-week trial was sufficient to convict Stanford, adding that the sentence was appropriate.
“The court’s sentence of 110 years fell within the 230-year sentence authorized by the sentencing guidelines and is, therefore, presumed reasonable,” wrote Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement for the Appeals Court.
Circuit Judges Fortunato Benavides and Stephen Higginson made up the rest of the panel.