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Jury finds Stanford guilty of fraud

Texas financier R. Allen Stanford has been found guilty of operating a ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 30,000 people of investments totaling $7 billion.

A FEDERAL JURY in Houston, Texas has convicted former financier R. Allen Stanford on 13 of 14 counts of fraud relating to the operation of a worldwide ponzi scheme.

The Texan, best-known for his sponsorship of the high-profile Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament, is thought to have accumulated investments of nearly $7 billion over the two decades in which the scheme was operational.

The decision came at the culmination of a six-week trial, during which jurors heard testimony from a number of Stanford’s business associates and nearly 30,000 victims.

The most valuable contribution came courtesy of James M. Davis, Stanford’s former college roommate and chief financial officer, who explained the precise means by which the billionaire exchaged investments for high-interest certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank. The money was later used to fund a lavish personal lifestyle and a variety of unsuccessful business ventures.

Speaking to the New York Times’ Clifford Krauss, defense lawyers described the verdict as a “disappointment” and suggested federal prosecutors had engaged in disinformation:

“The government wants you to believe it was all a fraud,” said Robert A. Scardino, one of Mr. Stanford’s lawyers. “That’s just not what happened.”

Met with contrasting responses  from a courtroom audience that included members of the Stanford family and those who trusted their savings to the financier, the verdict is expected to serve as the foundation for a lengthy prison sentence.

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