Allen Stanford was convicted Tuesday of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Stanford was found guilty on 13 counts of a 14-count criminal indictment, including fraud, conspiracy and obstructing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was found not guilty on one count of wire fraud. The charges carry a possible prison sentence of nearly 20 years.
“It was a vindication for the U.S. government, which closed down Stanford’s financial empire in February 2009 but had failed for years to address signs that the business was built on air,” according to a Reuters report. “The Stanford case was the biggest investment fraud since Bernard Madoff’s.”
Reuters said that Stanford, 61, was led out of the courtroom after the verdict, he touched his fist to his heart and looked at the bench where his mother and two daughters sat. He has been jailed since his June 2009 arrest.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome,” said Stanford’s defense attorney Ali Fazel. “We do expect an appeal.” He said he expects sentencing in several months.
Stanford, who was head of the now defunct Stanford Financial Group, based in Houston, was charged on Feb. 17, 2009, by the SEC with fraud and other violations of U.S. securities laws for his $7 billion Ponzi scheme that involved supposedly “safe” certificates of deposit. His personal fortune was once valued at $2.2 billion.