Flamboyant financier Allen Stanford once told ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross he would “die and go to hell” if his $7 billion investment empire was a Ponzi scheme.
The 61-year-old may not be going to hell, but he could well be spending the rest of his life in prison. On Tuesday, a federal jury in Houston convicted Stanford of all but one of 14 charges of fraud and obstruction. Each fraud count carries a sentence of up to 20 years. The same jury is now deliberating how much money Stanford must forfeit.
The Texas-bred Stanford built an offshore financial empire in the Caribbean during the 1980s and 1990s, and won a knighthood – and the right to call himself Sir Allen Stanford – from the government of Antigua. By early 2009, the SEC and the FBI, among others, were investigating Stanford Financial Group because of its above-market rate of returns. On February 17, 2009, the feds raided Stanford’s office in Texas, but did not arrest him until June.
It is only legal for governments to do this.