Stanford Gets 110 Years For US Ponzi Scheme
Convicted swindler Allen Stanford has been given a jail sentence of 110 years for conning investors out of more than $7bn (£4.5bn) in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history.
Prosecutors had asked for a 230-year jail term. Stanford's defence lawyers wanted a maximum sentence of 44 months.
The 62-year-old former Texan tycoon was found guilty on 13 out of 14 fraud related counts in March.
He protested his innocence but failed to convince the jury which also gave the go ahead to US authorities tracking down millions of dollars.
In a 40-minute statement to the court, Stanford claimed he was a scapegoat and blamed the federal government and the receiver who took over his companies for destroying his business empire and preventing his investors from getting any of their money back.
"I'm not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy," he told US District Judge David Hittner. "I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn't defraud anybody."
Prosecutors say Stanford orchestrated a 20-year scheme that took billions through the sale of certificates of deposit from his Antiguan bank.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme that pays returns from investors' own money.
Investors are hoping to get back some of the money that was taken from them by Standford but those efforts have been dogged by divisions among different authorities.
The legal battle over the assets has frustrated investors, who are still waiting for a pay out more than three years after Stanford's businesses were shut down.
"There are people who have died while waiting for a distribution of the assets, people whose families have been left with nothing, people basically living on donations," said Luis Lopez Duran, a Venezuelan attorney who lost money in the scheme.
Allen Stanford goes to jail after a precipitous fall from a life of wealth and fame.
Prosecutors say he took money from investors who bought deposit certificates from his Antiguan bank to fund a series of businesses and a jet setting luxury lifestyle.
The financial mogul's empire stretched across both Americas and the Caribbean.
But after his arrest all of his assets were seized and he was forced to rely on court-appointed attorneys to defend him.
Calling Stanford arrogant and remorseless, prosecutors said he enjoyed a lifestyle that included included yachts, a fleet of private jets and sponsorship of cricket tournaments.
They said he used money from investors who bought certificates of deposit from his bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua to fund a string of failed businesses and bribe regulators.
He may now spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Antiguan and American authorities are now pursuing Stanford's missing millions. But investigators are reported to have racked up bills already running in their millions doing so.
Ordinary investors fear their chances of recovering any of the money they were conned into investing may never be found or will dwindle to nothing in the process of recovering them.