Two Former Stanford Execs Get 20-Year Prison Terms

The last of the executives involved in Allen Stanford's massive Ponzi scheme were each sentenced to a twenty-year prison term for their role in the swindle that bilked investors worldwide out of billions of dollars.  Gilbert Lopez Jr., who once served as Stanford's chief accounting officer, and Mark Kuhrt, a former global comptroller, received their sentence from United States District Judge David Hittner, who also previously sentenced Stanford to a 150-year term.  Defense attorneys had attempted to downplay their clients' role in the scheme, asking for a 3-year and 5-year sentence for Lopez and Kuhrt, respectively.  

Lopez and Kuhrt chose to stand trial on charges that they participated in a series of sham transactions designed to both inflate the amount of capital contributions purportedly made by Stanford and misrepresent the extent of Stanford's repayment of billions of dollars in personal loans made by Stanford International Bank ("SIB").  At trial, prosecutors introduced a series of emails between Lopez and Kuhrt that discussed the sham payments to dispute the men's claims that they were neither aware nor culpable in Stanford's fraud.  A Houston federal jury sided with the government, and convicted the men of nine counts of wire fraud, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The men were the last of a lengthy list of Stanford executives accused of wrongdoing, which included:

  • Allen Stanford - sentenced to 150-year term in June 2012;
  • Laura Pendergast-Holt - Chief Investment Officer - sentenced to 3-year prison term for obstructing SEC investigation;
  • Jim Davis - Chief Investment Officer - After entering plea agreement with prosecutors in April 2009, cooperated extensively and served as government's star witness at several trials, and was sentenced to a five-year term earlier this year; and
  • Tom Raffanello and Bruce Perraud - Stanford security team - Acquitted on charges relating to shredding of documents, where judge called evidence "extremely thin."

A former Antiguan banking official was also named in the indictment, and is currently awaiting extradition to face the charges.