Allen Standford had his day in court involving a Ponzi scheme case that took $7 billion from investors and would label him a “financial terrorist” by his own victims.
The BBC reported that Judge David Hittner of the Federal District Court told Stanford he was under no obligation to look at the faces of his victims who stood before him in court, but he swiveled his chair toward the victims anyway without a flinch or sign of caring.
For Stanford, this is the day he was sentenced to 110 years in prison without parole. Instead, after refusing to testify in his own trial, Stanford broke his silence to say that unlike Bernard L. Madoff, the most prominent of Ponzi scheme swindlers, “I am not a thief.”
Rather, he said, he was the victim of government “Gestapo tactics” that provoked a run on his Caribbean bank and then sold off his assets at bargain-basement prices. Anyone who lost their money, he said, did so because of the government’s “unnecessary” actions.
“I’m not up here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness,” he said in a rambling statement to the court before the sentencing, intermittently holding back tears and shuffling papers. “I’m up here to tell you from my heart I didn’t run a Ponzi scheme.”
In response, the federal prosecutor William J. Stellmach called Stanford’s version of events “obscene.”
“This is a man utterly without remorse,” Stellmach said. “From beginning to end, he treated all of his victims as roadkill.”
As Stanford spoke to the court, dressed in a loosefitting olive green prison jumpsuit with his hands cuffed, he did not go into details about the accusations. But he and his lawyer, Ali R. Fazel, said that unlike Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in 2009, Stanford was accused of pocketing money that was actually invested in many enterprises, some of which had earned United States regulatory approval. Stanford said he had employed more than 5,000 people and lent money to the government of Ecuador and several corporations, municipalities and hospitals.
“Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar financial institution,” Stanford said, referring to his bank. “I am not a thief.”