Tycoon Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in jail for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of more than $7 billion.
The scheme was described as one of the largest in US history.
In court, Allen Stanford denied any guilt, telling the judge at his sentencing hearing: “I did not defraud anybody.”
Allen Stanford, a Texan banker, rose to prominence outside the US when he bankrolled international cricket competitions in the UK and Caribbean.
But after the collapse of his agreement to stage Twenty20 cricket in England, his financial empire began to crumble amid investigations by US regulators.
Forbes Magazine listed him as the 605th richest man in the world in 2006.
Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in jail for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of more than $7 billion
However, since his arrest in 2009 he has spent three years in detention after being denied bail.
Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme centred on his banking operation based in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua.
Some 30,000 individual investors were swindled, it was alleged. Prosecutors failed to find as much as 92% of the assets Stanford International Bank claimed to have.
In his statement in court on Thursday, which ran for some 40 minutes, he told the judge: “I’m not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy.
“I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t defraud anybody.”
US District Judge David Hittner, who presided over Allen Stanford’s trial, called his actions “egregious criminal frauds” during the hearing.
Two victims of the scheme spoke during the hearing, including Angela Shaw, who told the court Stanford was worse than convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff because he preyed on middle-class investors.
“He stole more than millions,” Angela Shaw said.
“He stole our lives as we knew them.”
His sentence is 40 years shorter than the jail term handed down to Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to a Ponzi scheme targeting wealthy investors.
Allen Stanford was convicted in March on 13 of 14 charges against him, despite his lawyers attempting to shift most of the blame on his chief financial officer.
Prosecutors had asked for a 230-year sentence, with defense lawyers arguing for a lenient term of 44 months.
Three other former executives at Allen Stanford’s company are awaiting trial, while a former Antiguan financial regulator is expected to be extradited to the US for related charges.
While a jury has cleared the way for access to about $330 million in stolen funds sitting in Allen Stanford’s frozen bank accounts across Canada, England and Switzerland, legal wrangling could make it years before investors recover any of that money.
Cricket tycoon Allen Stanford has been found guilty by a court in Houston, Texas, of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
Allen Stanford, 61, was convicted on 13 of the 14 charges.
He had pleaded not guilty to defrauding some 30,000 investors with bogus investments through his Stanford International Bank in Antigua to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Allen Stanford faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charge.
However, the judge will have to decide whether the sentences should run consecutively.
The jury of eight men and four women found Allen Stanford not guilty of one charge of wire fraud.
Allen Stanford looked down as the guilty verdicts were announced, and one of his daughters started crying.
Cricket tycoon Allen Stanford has been found guilty by a court in Houston, Texas, of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme
The same jury will now deliberate in a brief civil trial as prosecutors seek to seize funds from more than 30 of Allen Stanford’s bank accounts worldwide.
However, investigators say they have been unable to find 92% of the $8 billion the bank said it had in assets.
One of Allen Stanford’s lawyers, Ali Fazel, told Associated Press he was “disappointed in the outcome”, adding: “We expect to appeal.”
Allen Stanford’s defense was based on blaming a former chief financial officer, James Davis, and arguing that most of the money was lost by court-appointed receivers following the bank’s seizure.
Prosecutors said Allen Stanford’s bogus certificates of deposit had promised artificially high returns to fund his lavish lifestyle over a 20-year period.
They said Allen Stanford had told depositors in more than 100 countries that their money was safely invested in stocks and securities. However, it was in reality being transferred to his businesses and personal account.
James Davis, who had earlier pleaded guilty to fraud as part of a deal with prosecutors, testified that he had worked with Allen Stanford to falsify records.
Allen Stanford did not take the stand during the six-week trial.
Allen Stanford was the organizer of the money-spinning Stanford Twenty20 cricket tournament in the West Indies in 2008.
Forbes Magazine listed Allen Stanford as the 605th richest man in the world in 2006.
He has spent three years in detention after being denied bail.
Allen Stanford’s trial was delayed after he was involved in a prison fight in September 2009 and developed an addiction to an anti-anxiety drug. But in December 2011 he was declared fit to stand trial.