Fallen financier R. Allen Stanford faces a lifetime in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of a $7.2 billion investor fraud scheme.
Stanford, 62, heard a guilty verdict read 13 times Tuesday morning in the Houston, Texas, courtroom where he’s been on trial since Jan. 21.
The 12-member jury found him not guilty on one count of wire fraud.
“I’m glad he got what was coming to him,” said Stanford victim Walt Walton of Tupelo.
Walton, 78, lost his entire $455,000 savings in 2009 when the Stanford financial empire collapsed under the weight of a federal investigation into certificate of deposit purchases through his Stanford International Bank Ltd. in Antigua.
Immediately after the verdict, it wasn’t clear how some 21,000 former Stanford investors worldwide will be affected.
Likely, financial decisions for U.S. investors will come from a parallel civil lawsuit in the Dallas, Texas, federal court which appointed a receiver over Stanford’s assets in 2009.
The receiver has blocked most victims’ legal attempts to recover money and continues to sell Stanford assets to build a victims fund.
Walton, whose civil lawsuit against his local Stanford financial adviser was rejected in state court, said his primary focus since his loss “has been local.”
But with the Stanford verdict, he says it’s no longer about the money. “I feel I should have my day in court,” he said. “I want somebody to hear what I have to say.”
Bobby Allison, a Memphis financial service manager, wouldn’t say how much money he lost in the Stanford crash, but he said “it was a lot.”
Allison sold his brokerage business to Stanford and went to work for him opening local investment offices.
He never got all his money for the sale, he said.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Allison said about the verdict.
“In the end, it came down to which crook to believe,” he said about Stanford and his former chief financial officer, James Davis, who testified against him.
Davis lived for several years in the Baldwyn area, purchased numerous downtown properties there and often worked out of the Tupelo office.
In August 2009, he pleaded guilty to three counts in the fraud scheme and agreed to cooperate in hopes of leniency from a possible 30-year sentence.
Despite a blistering cross-examination by defense attorneys, Davis insisted Stanford directed him to “cook the books” of the bank and prevent CD purchasers from knowing that Stanford used bank money to support his lavish lifestyle and risky business ventures.
“The truth is,” Allison said, “most people don’t care about what happens to Davis or Stanford. They’re most concerned to see the former clients and employees restored to their lives.”
Across the years since his retirement savings vanished, Walton contends he made peace with the situation and just went back to work.
“I’m satisfied that the system worked with him,” Walton said Tuesday about Stanford.