After almost one week of deliberations, a jury has found Texas financier R. Allen Stanford guilty in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
He was convicted on 13 of 14 charges from money laundering and fraud that took place over two decades. It included billions of lost dollars for investors.
The one count that Stanford was not found guilty on was wire fraud.
The verdict comes after the jury sent a note to the judge on Monday stating they could not reach a unanimous decision on all of the 14 counts. U.S. District Judge David Hittner told them to keep deliberating for a fourth day in the month-long trial.
The case against Stanford comes three years after he had been accused of robbing close to 30,000 investors from across 113 countries in a Ponzi scheme. According to The New York Times, this included $7 billion of fake high-interest CDs from the Stanford International Bank based in Antigua.
Prosecutors had argued that Stanford lied about the products for more than two decades and said the investments were safe while taking the money and living a lavish lifestyle. He also had a Swiss bank account and invested in business deals that routinely tanked.
At the core of the prosecutor’s case was the company’s chief financial officer, James M. Davis. He was also Stanford’s college roommate. Davis’ testimony included that the Stanford “business empire” was fraudulent and Stanford went to extremes with him to show the business as legitimate such as falsifying bank records, annual reports and other documents.
Federal prosecutor William J. Stellmach said in his closing argument, “There really is no dispute that Allen Stanford lied and that he was “lining his pockets with billions of dollars of other people’s money.” A second prosecutor compared him to fellow convicted Ponzi schemer, Bernard L. Madoff.
The defense had denied the prosecution’s charges and argued that Stanford’s clients had been paid on schedule until the Securities and Exchange Commission came in three years ago with allegations that killed his businesses’ value. Stanford’s attorneys also argued that his investment literature stated a loss of principal could happen.
In addition, Stanford assets contained value at the time the federal government shut down his business, according to The New York Times. His defense also portrayed Stanford disconnected from his business’ financial nitty gritty, something that Davis oversaw.
Defense attorney Robert A. Scardino said, “The government wants you to believe it was all a fraud. That’s just not what happened.”
Stanford never took the stand in his own defense during the trial. He will remain in jail until sentencing and he could see up to 20 years of jail time for the most serious charges.