Stanford Deserves 230-Year Term in Ponzi Case, U.S. Says

R. Allen Stanford, convicted of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, should be sentenced to the maximum allowable term of 230 years in prison, prosecutors argued in court papers.

Stanford, who the government said is seeking a sentence of “time served,” is to be sentenced next week in U.S. District Court in Houston.

“Robert Allen Stanford is a ruthless predator responsible for one of the most egregious frauds in history,” the Justice Department said in a 34-page filing. “Displaying an audacity that only further illustrates his depravity, Stanford seeks a sentence of time served, brazenly arguing that there are no losses” and rehashing arguments rejected by the jury that convicted him in March.

Stanford, 62, was found guilty of defrauding more than 20,000 investors of $7 billion through the sale of what the government called bogus certificates of deposit at his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. A court-appointed receiver gathering the ex-billionaire’s assets has located less than $500 million in cash and assets to use to repay investors.

Stanford’s own sentencing recommendation was filed under seal. Prosecutors said he asked U.S. District Judge David Hittner for leniency, in part because he is a first-time offender.

Stripped of Assets

Stanford also denied that investors suffered any losses while he was running Stanford Financial Group and “complains that he was stripped of all his assets,” by the government, prosecutors said.

The recommended 230 years is at the top of the range of sentences for Stanford’s crime under federal guidelines, the prosecutors said in the filing.

“Nothing speaks more eloquently of Stanford’s character than his sentencing arguments in this case,” the Justice Department lawyers wrote. “After everything that he has done to so many innocent victims, Stanford does not show a hint of remorse for his misconduct, only the same arrogant, narcissistic behavior that led to it.”

Stanford has been incarcerated as a flight risk since his indictment in June 2009. He was charged about three months after U.S. securities regulators seized his companies on suspicion they were a “massive” Ponzi scheme, in which late-arriving investors’ funds were used to pay earlier investors.

Stanford’s lawyers have requested a prison sentence of 31 to 44 months, prosecutors said.

Robert A. Scardino, one of Stanford’s criminal-defense lawyers, said by phone that his side is “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst” at the June 14 sentencing. Scardino declined to comment further, citing a court order not to speak publicly about the case.

A Justice Department spokeswoman, Alisa Finelli, declined by e-mail to comment on the filing.

The case is U.S. v. Stanford, 4:09-cr-0342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

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