By Carlie Kollath Wells/NEMS Daily Journal
HOUSTON, Texas – A federal judge sentenced the last two defendants convicted of helping fallen financier R. Allen Stanford bilk investors in a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme.
Gilbert Lopez Jr., the ex-chief accounting officer for one of Stanford’s companies, and Mark Kuhrt, the global controller, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison during a hearing Thursday in Houston federal court.
Their attorneys had asked for lesser prison terms, saying their clients were not as culpable as two other former executives who were given significantly smaller sentences.
Lopez’s attorney says his client is remorseful for investor losses.
Prosecutors say Lopez and Kuhrt helped hide Stanford’s misuse of investor funds. Stanford was convicted last year on 13 fraud-related counts and sentenced to 110 years in prison.
Two other former executives with Stanford’s now dismantled business empire – Laura Pendergest-Holt and James M. Davis – already were sentenced.
Holt, the former chief investment officer, is a Baldwyn native and Davis, Stanford top aide as chief financial officer, lived in the Dry Creek community of Union County.
They worked out of Stanford offices in Memphis and Tupelo.
Holt is serving a three-year sentence for obstructing the federal investigation.
Davis hasn’t begun to serve a five-year sentence, the result of leniency and his substantial cooperation with prosecutors as their chief witness against Stanford and the others.
At his sentencing a few weeks ago, Davis asked for 60 days before turning himself in.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide the facility where he will serve his time, although Davis’ attorney said his client asked for a prison near Memphis.
A fifth defendant in the Ponzi scheme case, Leroy King, is an ex-Antiguan bank regulator. He continues to fight extradition to the U.S.