Allen Stanford
Born March 24, 1950 (1950-03-24) (age 61)Mexia, Texas, U.S.
Nationality American/Antiguan
Citizenship United States, Antigua and Barbuda
Education Baylor University (1974)
Occupation Chairman, Stanford Financial Group
Known for Businessman in the financial services sector, Alleged Ponzi scheme, Involvement in Stanford Super Series
Net worth US$2.2 billion (2008)[1]
Spouse Susan Stanford (separated)


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Allen Stanford

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Robert Allen Stanford (born March 24, 1950) was a prominent financier, philanthropist, and sponsor of professional sports who is in prison awaiting trial on charges his investment company was a massive Ponzi scheme and fraud. Stanford was the chairman of the now defunct Stanford Financial Group of Companies. A fifth-generation Texan who resides in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, he holds dual citizenship, being a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and a United States citizen.In early 2009, Stanford became the subject of several fraud investigations, and on February 17, 2009, was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud and multiple violations of U.S. securities laws for alleged "massive ongoing fraud" involving $8 billion in certificates of deposits. The FBI raided three of Stanford's offices in Houston, Memphis, and Tupelo, Mississippi. On February 27, 2009, the SEC amended its complaint to describe the alleged fraud as a "massive Ponzi scheme". He was arrested by the FBI on June 18, 2009.

Early years

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Stanford grew up in Mexia, Texas. His father, James Stanford, is former mayor of Mexia and a member of the Board of Directors of Stanford Financial Group. His mother, Sammie, is a nurse. After his parents divorced in 1959, Stanford and his brother went to live with their mother. Both of his parents remarried.

Stanford graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1974, Stanford graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance.

Knighthood and revocation

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A February 2009 Houston Chronicle article described Stanford as "the leading benefactor, promoter, employer and public persona" of Antigua and Barbuda. Knighted by the country in 2006, Stanford used the title "Sir Allen." Antiguans also generally referred to Stanford using the title. In October 2009 the National Honors Committee of Antigua and Barbuda voted unanimously to strip Stanford of his knighthood, and informed the prime minister of this decision on October 26. On November 2, 2009 the recommendation was forwarded to the Governor-General, Sir James Carlisle. The order to revoke Stanford's knighthood and insignia was approved and was served upon Stanford on April 1, 2010 after Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, signed the order revoking his knighthood.


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Stanford started in business in Waco, where he opened a bodybuilding gym, but it failed. His first success in business was in Houston real estate from the Texas oil bubble burst in the early 1980s. His partner in the real estate venture was his father James. In the 1980s, Stanford and his father made a fortune buying up depressed Houston real estate and selling it years later as the market recovered. When his father retired in 1993, Stanford took control of a company with 500 employees.

Stanford moved to the Caribbean in the 1980s, first to Montserrat and then to Antigua. With the Stanford Finance, he started a bank on the island of Montserrat in 1985, Guardian International Bank, which he moved to Antigua during a British crackdown on Montserrat's offshore-banking industry in 1980s and renamed Stanford International Bank, an affiliate of Stanford Financial.

In early 2007, Stanford and Baldwin Spencer, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda and a former Stanford ally, began verbally feuding in public.

In 2009, Antigua's Financial Services Regulatory Commission has named a British firm, Vantis Business Recovery Services, as a receiver of Stanford International Bank and Stanford Trust Company, the Associated Press reported.

Legal troubles

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Fraud allegations

Reports surfaced in early February 2009 that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a major U.S. private-sector oversight body, were investigating Stanford's company Stanford Financial Group, questioning the means by which Stanford International Bank manages consistently to make higher-than-market returns to its depositors. A former executive told SEC officials that Stanford presented hypothetical investment results as actual historical data in sales pitches to clients. Stanford claimed his CDs were as safe as, or safer than, US government-insured accounts.

A leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas reported as early as 2006 that companies under Stanford's control were "rumored to engage in bribery, money laundering, and political manipulation." The U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas at the time was reported to have "managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford" during a charity breakfast event.

Federal agents raided the offices of Stanford Financial on February 17, 2009, and treated it as "a kind of crime scene—cautioning people not to leave fingerprints."

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Allen Stanford with "massive ongoing fraud" centered on an eight-billion-dollar investment scheme. Stanford's assets, along with those of his companies, were frozen and placed into receivership by a U.S. federal judge, who also ordered Stanford to surrender his passport.

CNBC later reported that Stanford tried to flee the country on the same day as the raids on his headquarters: he contacted a private jet owner and attempted to pay for a flight to Antigua with a credit card, but was refused because the company would accept only a wire transfer.

FBI agents, acting at the request of the SEC, on February 19 located Stanford at his girlfriend's house near Fredericksburg, Virginia, and served him with civil legal papers filed by the SEC. Stanford was not arrested until June 18, 2009. Stanford has surrendered his passport to federal prosecutors, and he has hired the prominent criminal defence lawyer Brendan Sullivan, who represented Oliver North. The SEC often files civil charges before criminal charges are filed.

Following the allegations, various governments have taken over Stanford's business operations. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) announced that it has taken over the local operations of the Bank of Antigua (BOA) which will be renamed the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB). The Venezuelan Government also took over the Stanford Bank Venezuela, the local branch of Stanford's bank in that nation.

On February 27, the SEC said that Stanford and his accomplices operated a "massive Ponzi scheme", misappropriated billions of investors' money and falsified the Stanford International Bank's records to hide their fraud. "Stanford International Bank's financial statements, including its investment income, are fictional," the SEC said.

In an interview on April 20 at the law offices of Houston criminal attorney Dick DeGuerin, however, Stanford denied any wrongdoing. His companies had been well-run, he claimed, until the SEC "disembowelled" them.

On June 18, 2009, Stanford was taken into custody by FBI agents. According to DeGuerin:

On June 25, 2009, Stanford appeared in a Houston court and pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction. His lawyer claimed that he, Stanford, had resorted to liberal alcohol intake to grapple with the strain of the proceedings.

On August 27, 2009, Stanford was admitted into the Conroe, Texas Regional Medical Center. He was being transported from the private prison in Huntsville, Texas to the Federal Courthouse in Houston to attend a hearing concerning his attorney, who has asked the court to be dismissed from Stanford's case. En route, Stanford complained of a racing heart.

On September 26, 2009 it was reported Stanford had been hospitalized due to injuries sustained in a fight with another inmate at the private Joe Corley Detention Facility. His injuries were described as non-life threatening.

On November 8, 2010, it was reported that Stanford had been hospitalized due to injuries sustained in a fight with other inmates at a private prison near Conroe Texas. Photographs show him with his neck in a brace, his eye half-shut, a bandage wrapped around his head, and shackled hand and foot.

Stanford's trial date was set for January 2011, but this was delayed due to his poor health

Stanford, Federal Bureau of Prisons #35017-183, is incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center, Houston.

In February 2011 Stanford issued a counter-claim of $7.2B of damages against the FBI and the SBC.

In may prosecutors dropped 7 charges against Stanford, leaving 14 charges ongoing. A trial date has yet to be set due to his poor health.

Other business matters
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, affirming much of a United States Tax Court’s ruling on a dispute emanating from Stanford’s days of running the bank in Montserrat. In short, the court found that Stanford and his wife, Susan, under reported their 1990 federal taxes by $423,531.36. Public records show Stanford owes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes. There are four federal tax liens from 2007 and 2008 against Stanford totaling more than $212 million.

The FBI and other agencies have been conducting an ongoing investigation of Stanford since 2008 for possible involvement in money laundering for Mexico's Gulf Cartel.

In 2001, Stanford said publicly that his great-great-great grandfather was a relative of Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University. He funded the restoration of Leland Stanford's mansion in Sacramento, California in an effort "to help preserve an important piece of Stanford family history," and hired his own genealogists to prove he was a member of the Leland Stanford family. ""We are not aware of any genealogical relationship between Allen Stanford and Leland Stanford," said a university spokesperson at the time, and in 2008 filed a trademark infringement suit against Stanford claiming the school’s name was being used “in a way that creates public confusion” and is “injurious.”


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Stanford created and funded the Stanford 20/20 Cricket tournament in the West Indies, for which he built his own ground in Antigua. The first Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournament was held in July and August 2006. The second tournament took place in January and February 2008 with a global television audience of 300 million. Trinidad and Tobago took first place in this tournament. This team also took home the US280k Super Series prize after defeating Middlesex on October 27, 2008.

In June 2008, Stanford and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) signed a deal for five Twenty20 internationals between England and a West Indies all-star XI with a total prize fund of £12.27m (US $20 million) to be awarded to the team that wins the Championship. It was the largest prize ever offered to a team for a single tournament. This was in jeopardy after a row with Digicel, the sponsors of the West Indies cricket team, who were unhappy about sponsorship of the event. Eventually, the dispute was sorted out and the first Championship was won by Stanford Superstars, who defeated the England team by 10 wickets, humiliating them in the Twenty 20 arena.

On February 17, 2009, when news of the fraud investigation became public, the ECB and WICB withdrew from talks with Stanford on sponsorship. On February 20 the ECB announced it has severed its ties with Stanford and cancelled all contracts with him.

Stanford owned two newspaper businesses in both Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis, which both went by the name of The Sun. Following the scandal, both newspapers put workers on notice that their full operations would cease in April 2010.

See also

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  • Caribbean Star Airlines
  • Caribbean Sun Airlines
  • FBI
  • Stanford 20/20
  • Stanford Cricket Ground, Coolidge, Antigua
  • Laura Pendergest-Holt
  • Ponzi scheme
  • Stanford Financial Group

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