Texas Banker is Sentenced to 110 Years in Jail over Ponzi Scheme

The jailing of Texas banker R. Allen Stanford, has led to comparisons with Bernie Madoff and Enron in the annals of white collar crime.

Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in jail. His forlorn appearance in a Houston court room was a far cry from his jet setting days on his fleet of private airplanes and yachts.

The Houston financier was convicted of defrauding billions of dollars from investors in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. He was sentenced to 110 years in jail.

Typically in federal fraud cases prosecutors will seek big sentences. In this case they asked for the maximum sentence of 230 years. Defense attorneys wanted 10 years, but later said they weren’t surprised as the judge handed down the 110 year sentence, KHOU News reported.

The scale of the fraud in the case marks it out from many other white collar offenses. Stanford was convicted of bilking investors out of more than $7 billion over 20 years.

In March 2012, a Houston jury convicted the banker on all but one of 14 fraud-related counts, clearing the way for U.S. authorities to seize millions from Stanford’s bank accounts.

Although Stanford’s attorneys argued he was a legitimate businessman, federal prosecutors successfully convinced the jury he organized an intricate scheme that siphoned billions of dollars via the sale of certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank to fleece thousands of investors in numerous countries.

Inevitable comparisons were made with Bernie Madoff.

Madoff was the operator of a Ponzi scheme that has been described as the most massive financial fraud in U.S. history. About $65 billion went missing from client accounts.

It started as long ago as the early 1990s, although federal investigators believe it may have been in operation 20 years earlier. He was sentenced in 2009.

Enron was the last major white collar scandal linked to Houston, Texas. The massive energy company with headquarters in the Texas city, went bankrupt on December 2, 2001. Its apparently healthy financial condition turned out to be sustained substantially by a systematic accounting fraud and it hid billions of dollars in debt from failed deals and projects.

A raft of criminal charges were later brought against its top officers.

As criminal defense attorneys we specialize in representing of individuals and businesses charged with various types of fraud and white collar offenses in federal court.

Few are as high profile as the case of R. Allen Stanford, although most white collar and fraud charges in federal court result in multi-count indictments.

The guidelines for sentencing used in federal court cases take into account the amount of loss that is alleged to have occurred in determining whether a prison sentence is warranted upon the conviction for a fraud or white collar offense. A fraud loss as low as $30,000 could result in a prison sentence for a person convicted at trial of a fraud or white collar offense even if the defendant has no previous criminal record.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.