Former billionaire gets 110 years in prison
HOUSTON - A Texan tycoon who defrauded almost £5 billion from investors and used his wealth to bankroll international cricket matches in England was jailed for 110 years on Friday.
Allen Stanford, who for 22 years ran investment scams with an estimated 17,000 victims, was once one of the richest men in America, worth more than £1.2 billion.
The courtroom in Houston was packed with many of his victims to hear the sentence handed down, the majority of whom were small business owners.
Two of the estimated 17,000 victims of Stanford’s fraud were allowed to address the court.
Jaime Escalona, who represented Latin American victims, addressed the hearing before turning to stare directly at Stanford to tell him: ‘You, sir, are a dirty, rotten, scoundrel.’
The other victims’ spokesman, Angela Shaw, of the Stanford Victims Coalition, said of the fraudster: ‘Allen Stanford has stolen more than billions of dollars. He took our lives as we knew them.’ She said some 28,000 people had lost money in the scam.
Yet, even in his final hour of shame the former tycoon couldn’t help but deny it all and to blame others. ‘I’m not a thief.....I did not defraud anybody,’ he said.
‘The US government are responsible ruining the business....they destroyed it and turned it to nothing. Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar global financial empire.’
Stanford now plans to appeal against the conviction and sentence even though he was officially declared ‘indigent’ – penniless.
The court has now to appoint lawyers who will be funded out of a scheme similar to Britain’s own legal-aid and it is estimated to run into tens of millions of dollars.