Allen Stanford, the flamboyant billionaire banker who concocted one of the country's most spectacular frauds from an Antiguan bank and a posh Miami office, was found guilty Tuesday by a federal jury in Houston of bilking thousands of investors of more than $7 billion, reports the Miami Herald. The once powerful businessman whose extravagant lifestyle included a $10 mansion near Coral Gables and a $6 million yacht on Biscayne Bay, was convicted on nearly every charge in what prosecutors called one of the nation's largest Ponzi schemes.
One of the wealthiest people in the U.S. before his arrest three years ago, Stanford looked down as the verdict was read, while his mother and daughters hugged each other in the courtroom. The verdict marks the final chapter of a rags-to-riches story that began with Stanford's humble roots in Texas, and later his foray into the Caribbean where he founded a fledgling bank in Antigua that became the center of one of the largest banking empires in the hemisphere. Prosecutors charged that Stanford reaped most of his money from the sale of bogus certificates of deposit in his bank. The funds for the CDs were never properly invested but poured into a string of failed businesses, luxury homes, private jets and sports sponsorships including a $20 million cricket tournament.