By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
HOUSTON, Texas – James M. Davis – the once confident, glad-handing chief financial officer of R. Allen Stanford’s worldwide financial empire – wept on the stand Wednesday when a prosecutor asked him how large his aluminum boat was at his old home in Union County.
Flush-faced and physically frail looking, the 63-year-old man facing prison time for his own frauds, choked back his emotions to finally say, “About 10 to 12 feet long.”
The prosecutor was trying to make a point with the Texas federal jury that Davis’ boat was small compared to Stanford’s 100-foot yacht he showed in a photograph – the point being that Davis and Stanford’s crimes compared with the boats, one small and one huge.
Stanford is accused of masterminding a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on investors in certificates of deposit sold through his Stanford International Bank Ltd. in Antigua. Davis was his right-hand man and pleaded guilty to his participation in August 2009.
Stanford’s attorneys insist Davis was the bad guy, taking depositors’ money and funneling it through Swiss accounts to fund Stanford’s “vision” of a richest-of-the-rich island resort and other lavish enterprises.
Davis and the government insist that Stanford called all the shots, despite Davis’ authority to act on his behalf in many ways, and that Stanford ruled his empire with an iron hand so Davis never made a move without his approval.
Davis has been on the witness stand since midday Friday and felt the full force of blistering attacks by the defense earlier this week. He admitted to the jury that he was a liar, a cheat, a fraudster and a coward.
But he also emphasized he was telling them the truth about Stanford and the fraud, which allegedly prevented bank depositors from knowing that Stanford borrowed up to $6 billion without an attempt to repay it.
Stanford’s attorneys insist he would have repaid it, if a court-appointed receiver hadn’t come in early 2009 to freeze all assets and collapse the empire. Depositors still wait for repayments of their life savings and retirement funds.