By Patsy R. Brumfield | NEMS Daily Journal
Jury selection begins Monday for R. Allen Stanford, a flamboyant, larger-than-life Texan once knighted for his investments in the sport of cricket.
Stanford, 61, will stand trial alone over the course of several months in Houston, Texas, charged with perpetrating a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on investors worldwide.
He maintains he is not guilty.
Crucial testimony is expected early in the federal trial’s progression in the town where Stanford established his corporate headquarters.
That testimony will come from his former college roommate, James M. Davis, a name familiar to many throughout Northeast Mississippi.
Davis visited family in the area as a young man and came back here in triumph under the facade of meteoric business success as Stanford’s right-hand man, his chief financial officer.
He and his wife built a four-story mansion northwest of Baldwyn and bought up numerous downtown properties there for a renaissance.
Tupelo leaders will remember his exuberant hospitality with the lavish grand opening of Stanford’s investment company offices in downtown.
Stanford, Davis and Baldwyn native Laura Pendergest-Holt were primary targets as federal agents swooped in to ferret out financial secrets in late 2008.
Holt, the company’s chief investment officer, will face trial later this year on charges similar to Stanford.
Business reporters from around the world will converge to cover the trial.
Prosecutors say the public and the jury will learn from Davis how it all happened.