By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
HOUSTON, Texas – A federal judge has ruled that jailed former financier Allen Stanford is unfit to stand trial on charges of running a $7.2 billion fraud operation from his Caribbean base in Antigua.
The 60-year-old was arrested in 2009 and indicted on 21 counts, including securities fraud and money laundering.
Thousands of Stanford certificate of deposit investors lost their life savings and retirement funds when Stanford Financial Group collapsed early in 2009 under the weight of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Scores of Mississippians were among the victims. SFG had offices in Jackson, Tupelo and Memphis.
Stanford was scheduled to go on trial Jan. 24.
Recently, his attorneys and prosecutors asked the court to decide if he were fit for trial after his counsel alleged he was addicted to prescribed anti-anxiety medication and couldn’t help them prepare for trial.
Stanford sustained a brain injury in an incident with another inmate while in jail in Texas in 2009.
“The court finds Stanford is incompetent to stand trial at this time based on his apparent impaired ability to rationally assist his attorneys in preparing his defense,” U.S. District Judge David Hittner wrote in his ruling in Houston.
“The court’s finding that Stanford is incompetent, however, does not alter the court’s finding that Stanford is a flight risk.”
The judge also recommended that Stanford be sent to a medical facility within the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, citing the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., where Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year term for defrauding investors.