Allen Stanford Sentenced to 110 Years in Prison for $7 Billion Ponzi Scheme

A federal judge handed down a 110-year sentence to R. Allen Stanford for bilking thousands of investors in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that spanned the globe.  United States District Judge David Hittner delivered the sentence after hearing from prosecutors, defense attorneys, two victims and Stanford himself.  Prosecutors had argued for a sentence of 230 years, the maximum allowed, while Stanford's attorneys had urged Judge Hittner to sentence Stanford to a maximum of 44 months - essentially a sentence for time served.  

Stanford gave a 40-minute statement to Judge Hittner before the court, claiming he was a scapegoat and regusing to take responsibility for his actions.  He blamed the federal government and the SEC-initiated receivership for the demise of his business, continuing to maintain that his financial enterprise was a legitimate business, and arguing that he did not run a Ponzi scheme.  Said Stanford, “I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t defraud anybody.”  

Prosecutor William Stellmach seized on this lack of remorse, calling him arrogant and remorseless and pointing to the massive losses sustained by the victims of Stanford's scheme that numbered in the thousands.  Two victims also spoke, explaining the financial devastation wrought by Stanford's actions.  

In handing down the sentence, Judge Hittner both ensured that Stanford will spend the rest of his life in prison (assuming that any appeals are unsuccessful) and made sure that Stanford's sentence, like his crime, would pale in comparison only to Bernard Madoff's scheme.   The sentence places Stanford between Madoff, who was  sentenced to 150 years in prison in June 2009, and Thomas Petters, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme.  Additionally, in a largely symbolic move, Judge Hittner approved prosecutors' request for a $5.9 billion restitution order, which is highly unlikely to ever be satisfied considering Stanford's indigent status.

Three other Stanford executives are scheduled to stand trial later this year, and a former Antiguan regulator is currently awaiting extradition to face charges after being indicted.