Five years in prison was Judge David Hittner’s sentence for him in the town where he and Stanford built the worldwide financial empire.
That empire crashed in early 2009 under a federal investigation and some 20,000 investors lost $7.2 billion from bogus certificates of deposit sold through Caribbean-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
Davis, 64, formerly of Union County and who now lives in Michigan, appeared with his wife, Lori, and their two sons and wives at the 45-minute hearing.
Davis was the prosecutor’s key witness in 2012 trials against Stanford and two ex-financial executives, and he’s credited with pressuring a guilty plea from Baldwyn native Laura Pendergest-Holt, the company’s former chief investment officer.
“I’m ashamed and I’m embarrassed, I’ve perverted everything that was right,” Davis told the court. “Everything I was a part of, I failed them and I’m sorry. I will feel remorse and regret every day for the rest of my life.”
While Davis did not personally profit from the fraud in the same “playboy life enjoyed by Stanford,” Hittner said that “in no way excuses James Davis.”
Davis made about $13 million over 21 years working for Stanford.
All the defendants are serving prison time. Davis, who asked for assignment to a prison near Memphis, was granted a 60-day reprieve before he turns himself in.
Hittner sentenced him to only half of what the government recommended in its leniency request. Without leniency he faced up to 30 years in prison.