Stanford convicted of defrauding investors of $7 billion

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Not exactly his usual chauffeur

The jury of eight men and four women yesterday convicted R. Allen Stanford on 13 of 14 charges including four wire fraud counts and five mail fraud counts carrying maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. No sentencing date has been set…

The founder of Houston-based Stanford Financial Group denied federal government allegations he’d lied to investors about the nature and oversight of the certificates of deposit issued by the bank and sold in U.S. by his securities firm, Stanford Group Co.

Once ranked 205 on Forbes magazine’s 2008 list of the richest Americans, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, Stanford has been jailed as a flight risk since being indicted in June 2009.

The forfeiture trial, which continues today, began about 2 1/2 hours after the jury rendered its verdict. Prosecutors want the panel to decide how much money Stanford must give up now that they’ve said he is guilty.

The funds, now on deposit in the U.K., Switzerland, Canada and Antigua, belong to Stanford bank depositors, Justice Department lawyer Andrew Warren told the jury at the outset of the second proceeding yesterday. “It includes the SocGen slush fund about which you’ve heard a lot about already,” Warren said, referring to money at a Swiss unit of Paris-based Societe Generale SA. “Every single dollar the U.S. is seeking is CD depositors’ money that stems from Mr. Stanford’s crimes and belongs to the victims of his fraud…”

The forfeiture phase is as important as the conviction,” said former Stanford prosecutor Paul Pelletier, who is now in private practice…“Fifty percent of a prosecutor’s job is to obtain the conviction,” he said. “The other 50 percent is to recover for the victims, and forfeiture goes a long way towards that goal.”

Funds recovered through this process will be returned to Stanford fraud victims. “It’s an absolute given,” Pelletier said. “Not a dime of this money goes to the U.S. treasury…”

Stanford was declared indigent and given a taxpayer- financed defense because all of his assets were frozen by court order in February 2009 when he was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission…

The U.S. judge in Dallas overseeing that case appointed a receiver to marshal and liquidate Stanford’s holdings to repay investors. While Stanford waited in jail for his criminal trial to begin, the receiver sold his businesses, boats, six airplanes and stakes in a boutique hotel and golf course.

Stanford also lost the honorary knighthood given to him by the Antiguan government for his economic development efforts there. Antigua’s parliament stripped him of the title in November 2009.

Unlike his peers at Enron, Stanford assets may actually land in reduced quantities [of course] in the accounts of his victims.

The interconnected nature of politicians and pimps like Stanford never seems to end – and isn’t touched in the least by Congress or the Supreme Court. Lehman Brothers paper shuffle hustle, Enron’s scams and thefts, Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme were all aided by one or another politician. Whether it was the Parliament of the nation of Antiqua which awarded Stanford a knighthood for good works – or Phil Gramm of Texas removing oversight from Enron while his wife was on the Board of Directors, the country club collusion continues same as it ever was.

Though it is heartwarming to see one of these crooks sent away. It certainly wasn’t common in the days of Bush and Cheney – was it?

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