U.S. v. R. Allen Stanford Begins

The trial of R. Allen Stanford is set to begin this morning at Houston's federal courthouse. The financier is charged with running a $7 billion dollar Ponzi scheme against investors in the now-defunct Stanford Financial Group.

Geoffrey Corn teaches criminal law and procedure at South Texas College of Law. Corn says the amount of money involved and the extent of Stanford’s offshore dealings make the case unusually complex.

“And that’s the challenge, I think of the prosecutors in a case like this is to demystify and to boil it down to its bare elements, which is, ‘You lied to get people to give you money, and then you used that money to lie to the people who had already given you money that that was their profit.’ The classic pyramid scheme. Not to mention siphoning huge amounts off for your personal gain.”

Stanford is facing fourteen criminal counts related to the alleged Ponzi scheme. The charges include fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and obstruction of a federal investigation.

“In proving the case at trial, you’re looking at something that looks a lot more like the Enron case.”

Adam Gershowitz teaches criminal law and procedure at the University of Houston Law Center.

“You’re looking at a case where there’s a lot of documents in which Stanford is going to say, ‘No, this is perfect legitimate business operations, and the government doesn’t understand it,’ and they’re going to be put to the burden of showing that this is a criminal enterprise, while the defendant simply says the paperwork shows something different.”

Stanford is facing fourteen criminal counts related to the alleged Ponzi scheme. The charges include fraud, conspiracy to launder money and obstruction of a federal investigation.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...