A federal appeals court denied Allen Stanford's appeal of his 110-year sentence, adding a finishing touch to a shocking fall from grace for the billionaire-turned-indigent and confirming that the notorious conman will not be eligible for release until April 17, 2105. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit comes just over a year after Stanford filed a 299-page brief advancing no less than fifteen grounds for vacating his 2012 convictions on thirteen fraud counts, including that the U.S. lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him and that Stanford was denied a fair trial. The government filed a sharply-worded response urging the denial of Stanford's appeal. Stanford's last remaining hope is to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari.
Stanford masterminded a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that purported to offer above-average returns through the sale of supposedly-safe certificates of deposit ("CD's"). The scheme spanned several decades, and attributed its ability to pay the unusually-high returns to Stanford's unique investment strategy. However, the operation was nothing more than a massive Ponzi scheme that ranks second only to Bernard Madoff's infamous scheme. Stanford used investor funds for a variety of unauthorized purposes, including funding a cricket team and making millions of dollars in personal loans. Stanford was convicted and received a 110-year sentence in June 2012. He appealed his sentence in October 2014.
The Fifth Circuit addressed and denied ten grounds on appeal. The Court ruled that (1) the government had jurisdiction to prosecute Stanford; (2) the indictment was sufficient and not defective; (3) Stanford's motion for continuance was properly denied given his mental competency and substantial legal team; (4) the court-appointed receiver's sale and liquidation of assets during the proceedings did not trigger the double jeopardy clause; (5) the district court properly denied Stanford's motion for suppression of materials obtained by the government from the receiver; (6) the court's jury instructions defining the word 'scheme' and 'CDO' were proper; (7) ample record and testimonial evidence supported the sentencing enhancements present in his presentencing report; (8) the district court did not err in finding Stanford competent and that no evidence existed to demonstrate that the district court was partial to the government; (9) no cumulative error existed; and (10) no Brady claims existed.
Previous Ponzitracker coverage of the Stanford scheme is here.
A copy of the Fifth Circuit's opinion is below: