American tycoon Allen Stanford was convicted on Tuesday of defrauding investors out of more than $7 billion in a massive Ponzi scheme he operated for 20 years and is may never be a free man again.
When he is sentenced the 61-year-old Texan could face the rest of his life in jail for defrauding over 30,000 investors. Yet cricket lovers in the Caribbean although sensitive to the losses incurred by investors into his scheme, are still sorry that Stanford’s massive investment in cricket has gone and there may never be anyone like him again.
The cricketing fraternity in the Caribbean is still lamenting Stanford’s demise because he pumped hundreds of millions into reviving the sport and trying to raise the level of the West Indies side back to their glory days.
Cayman Islands Cricket Association Technical Director Theo Cuffy said: “It is unfortunate from my point of view that Stanford has been found guilty. He had good intentions for developing cricket in the Caribbean.
“We knew nothing about his business situation. He fooled a lot of people and at the time he was funding cricket we thought he was up front. In hindsight we can now say that we should never have accepted his money.
“Everyone in West Indies cricket enjoyed him being a benefactor to a level never seen before but now the law must take its course.”
Jurors reached their verdicts against Stanford during their fourth day of deliberation in Houston, finding him guilty on all charges except a single count of wire fraud.
Stanford, once considered one of the wealthiest people in the US, looked down when the verdict was read. His mother and daughters, who were in the federal courtroom, hugged one another and one daughter started crying.
Ali Fazel, one of Stanford’s lawyers, said he was disappointed and intends to appeal.
Prosecutors called Stanford a con artist who lined his pockets with investors’ money to fund a string of failed businesses, pay for a lavish lifestyle that included yachts and private jets and bribe regulators to help him hide his scheme.
His lawyers claimed Stanford was a visionary entrepreneur who made money for investors and conducted legitimate business deals. Stanford who has been jailed since his indictment in 2009, will remain incarcerated until he is sentenced.
He faces up to 20 years for the most serious charges against him, but the once high-flying businessman could spend longer than that behind bars if US District Judge David Hittner orders the sentences to be served consecutively instead of concurrently.
Stanford was once considered worth more than $2bn. But he had court-appointed lawyers after his assets were seized.