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Financier Stanford sentenced to 110 years for Ponzi scheme

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] on Thursday sentenced Allen Stanford [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to 110 years in prison without parole. Judge David Hittner reduced the sentence from the 230 years originally requested [text; JURIST report] by the prosecution last week for his $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Defense lawyers for Stanford, who has been in prison for three years, had been seeking a sentence of 31 to 44 months leading to his immediate release. A jury in the same court had convicted [JURIST report] Stanford in March on 13 of 14 charges, including conspiracy to commit wire or mail fraud, conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] investigation, obstruction of an SEC investigation and conspiracy to commit money laundering in addition to five counts of wire fraud and five counts of mail fraud. He was acquitted on one charge of wire fraud. Stanford had filed a motion for new trial after the conviction arguing that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial, but Hittner rejected [JURIST report] the motion without giving any reasons.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in March that the victims of Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme would be allowed to pursue a class action. The trial against Stanford began in January after a judge ruled that he was competent to stand trial, overruling a previous holding [JURIST reports] to the contrary. In February 2011 Stanford accused [JURIST report] several federal agents of having deprived his constitutional rights by using abusive law-enforcement methods. Stanford was first indicted [JURIST report] in 2009.

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