R. Allen Stanford, the billionaire banker who plotted one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history from a fancy high-rise office in Miami and a bank in Antigua, was sentenced Thursday to 110 years in prison, reports the Miami Herald. Stanford was kingpin of a $7 billion fraud that lasted 20 years. He once spread his wealth across South Florida, living in a $10 million mansion in Coral Gables, bobbing on Biscayne Bay aboard a $6 million yacht and presiding over his financial empire from posh headquarters at the Miami Center.
He also was the big man in Antigua, with a newspaper, a couple of restaurants, a development company and lavish cricket grounds where he once bankrolled a $20 million winner-take-all match. His lawyers at his trial said their client was a visionary businessman who tried to bolster the economy of Antigua, where he was known as “Sir Allen” after being knighted by the government. His downfall began three years ago, when the Miami Herald found that Stanford made a deal with Florida regulators allowing him to open a special trust office without regulation. His office sold $800 million in bogus certificate of deposits, mainly to South American investors. Checks were sent to Antigua and records were destroyed.