US set to go after stolen investor funds

Texas jury clears decks for authorities to seize $330m linked to convicted pyramid schemer Allen Stanford.

    Prosecutors say Stanford ran a Ponzi scheme for 20 years to help fund his own spending habits [Reuters]

    A Texas jury has cleared the way for US authorities to go after $330m in stolen investor funds sitting in frozen foreign bank accounts controlled by Allen Stanford, the convicted pyramid schemer.

    The jury found on Thursday there was sufficient evidence the money in 29 accounts in Switzerland, Britain and Canada was some of the more than $7bn he stole from investors over 20 years.

    Stanford, 61, was found guilty by the jury on Tuesday on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts, including swindling $7bn from about 30,000 investors around the world.

    Stanford is due to be sentenced in his home state on Texas on June 14. He could face up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges, but could be looking at a life behind bars if the judge orders the sentences to run consecutively.

    Stanford has spent the past three years in jail after being deemed a flight risk shortly after his February 2009 arrest.

    His attorneys, Robert Scardino and Ali Fazel, say they intend to appeal his conviction after he is sentenced.

    "Our client spent almost nine months in a mental facility in North Carolina before the trial. We had 30 days with a competent client," Scardino said.

    The trial was delayed after Stanford was declared incompetent in January 2011 due to an anti-anxiety drug addiction he developed in jail.

    Prosecutors say Stanford ran a Ponzi scheme for 20 years in which he used the money from investors who bought certificates of deposit, or CDs, from his bank in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua to fund a string of failed businesses, bribe regulators and support his personal spending habits.

    As a dual citizen of the US and the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda, Stanford was known for his largesse, especially on the two paradise islands.

    With a fortune of $2.2bn, Forbes magazine ranked Stanford as the 605th richest person in the world in 2006.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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