US jury asks Allen Stanford to forfeit funds through assets

Cricket mogul Allen Stanford mocked his “gullible” investors as he built a $7 billion Ponzi scheme to fund a lavish lifestyle, US prosecutors said in closing arguments AFP

Chicago: Mar 9, 2012

Financier and cricket mogul Allen Stanford must forfeit $330 million in assets tracked down by prosecutors investigating his $7 billion Ponzi scheme, a US jury said Thursday.

“Any forfeited funds obtained by the United States would be returned to the fraud victims,” the US Justice Department said in a statement. The flamboyant Texan was convicted of 13 fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges Tuesday. The same jury was tasked with determining what assets he should forfeit in order to begin repaying his victims.

Prosecutors said Stanford stole $2 billion from investors to fund his lavish lifestyle.Investigators could not find 92 percent of the $8 billion the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank said it had in assets and cash reserves.

A dual citizen of the United States and the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda, Stanford was known for his largesse, especially on the two paradise islands. He received a knighthood in 2006 from Antigua, where he was the largest employer, and rose to global prominence in 2008 by creating the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament, which captured a television audience of 300 million.

aStanford was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud in February 2009 and arrested a few months later at his girlfriend’s home in the eastern state of Virginia. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for June 14.

Even if a judge decides Stanford should receive concurrent sentences on the 13 counts — which carry maximum penalties ranging from five to 20 years each — he will likely still face 20 years in federal prison.Stanford, 61, has spent the past three years in jail after being deemed a flight risk and will likely get credit for time served. (AFP)