Update: March 6, 2012, 2:46 PM
The spectacular fall of former Houston billionaire Allen Stanford reached its long sought conclusion on Tuesday as a federal jury found him guilty of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.Stanford was convicted on 13 out of 14 felony counts, with the jury determining he conspired in a massive fraud said to have ruined the livelihoods of thousands of victims.
The former high-flying cricket mogul saw his life tumble after his 2009 arrest for the crimes. His riches were frozen or seized and he was badly beaten while in jail awaiting trial. More recently, Stanford was represented by attorneys appointed to him by the court after he could no longer pay for his own defense.
The verdict was a much-needed win for the federal government, which ignored warnings for nearly eight years that Stanford was operating a fraud. Internal investigators determined the Securities and Exchange Commission knew about his shady dealings as early as 1997 but didn’t act until 2005.
The SEC finally shut down Stanford’s international dealings in February 2009 and federal law enforcement officials arrested him four months later.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome,” Stanford’s attorney Ali Fazel told Reuters after the verdict. “We do expect an appeal.”