Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in prison after being convicted for running a £4.6bn Ponzi scheme.
The Texan financier denies any wrongdoing, claiming that he “did not defraud anyone” in the biggest Ponzi scandal since Bernie Madoff.
Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is said to have been worth around $64.8bn by the time the fraud came to light. Its discovery in November 2008 shocked the financial world, and he was sentenced to 150 years behind bars.
But one of the witnesses at Stanford’s trial, Angela Shaw, argued that Stanford’s crime was even worse, due to the middle class demographic he targeted. In a heartfelt address, Ms Shaw claimed that Stanford “stole our lives as we knew them.”
He was no less of apublic figure than Madoff though – Antigua had had Stanford knighted in 2006 (an honour it later retracted), and the English Cricket Board was also hugely embarrassed through their affiliation with the Texan financier during the Stanford’s Superstars series betweeen England and the West Indies in 2008.In 2008, Forbes ranked Stanford as the 205th richest American, estimating his net worth at $2.2bn.
The American government claimed that this wealth was simply that of his clients, which he used to live an “extraordinarily lavish lifestyle.” Federal lawyers pursued a sentence of 230 years for his misdemeanors, while the defendants argued for something more in the region of 44 months.
US judge David Hittner handed down the 110 year sentence, which has come under criticism. One source compared that length to that of the average convicted murderer in the US – just 15 years.
Despite his lawyers’ intention to appeal, it seems likely that Stanford will see out the remainder of his days in prison. This was certainly the expectation of his mother, who said that “in view of everything else that’s happened, I didn’t expect anything different.”
Case: U.S. v. Stanford, 09-cr-342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of TX (Houston).