Allen Stanford guilty in $7 billion Ponzi scheme

Allen Stanford, the Texan financier, was found guilty on Tuesday of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme by a Houston federal jury, according to Reuters.

The federal jury found Stanford guilty on 13 out of 14 counts of fraud, three years after Stanford was accused of defrauding 30,000 investors in 113 countries over the course of two decades, said The New York Times.

The Stanford case was the biggest financial fraud since Bernard Madoff's, said Reuters. The personal wealth that Stanford accumulated was once valued at $2.2 billion.

Federal prosecutor William J. Stellmach said, "There really is no dispute that Allen Stanford lied, lining his pockets with billions of dollars of other people’s money."

The Stanford International Bank, which was based in Antigua, was at the center of the $7 billion fraud, only left with $88 million by December 2008, though it claimed to hold $1 billion in assets, said the Guardian.

Antigua, where Sir Allen had owned the local newspaper, restaurants and cricket grounds, revoked his knighthood. Stanford and his executives had reportedly contributed $1.8 million to American politicians, with President Barack Obama receiving $4,600 in 2008, said the Guardian.

The prosecutors in the case said Stanford used the bank in Antigua as his "personal ATM," according to Reuters. Among the hallmarks of his luxurious lifestyle were a castle in Florida, bought for his girlfriend, a million-dollar condominium for his oldest daughter, and a yacht in the Caribbean.

James Davis, Stanford's former roommate and chief financial officer, was a key prosecution witness who testified that "the Stanford business empire was a fraud complete with bribes for Antiguan regulators and schemes to cover up operations from federal investigators," according to The Times.

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