HOUSTON (Reuters) - Allen Stanford, the former Texas billionaire convicted of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 110 years in prison on Thursday.
Stanford was convicted of 13 charges including fraud and conspiracy by a jury in March for using fraudulent certificates of deposit sold by his offshore bank in Antigua to bilk thousands of investors out of their savings.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner said Stanford's actions were one of the most "egregious criminal frauds."
One of his victims, Angela Shaw, told the court that Stanford was worse than Bernard Madoff because he preyed on middle-class people like retired teachers, veterans and refinery workers. "He stole more than millions. He stole our lives as we knew them," Shaw said. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years after pleading guilty in March 2009 to running a Ponzi scheme that targeted wealthy people.
Speaking before his sentencing, Stanford denied defrauding anyone and blamed the U.S. government for ruining his business by seizing his assets. "They destroyed it and turned it to nothing," he said. "Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar global financial empire."
Cassie Wilkinson, another victim, said he had shown no remorse.
"His statement was just pathetic. It was all about Allen Stanford," Wilkinson told reporters afterward. "It was repulsive and speaks a lot about who he really is."
Prosecutors had asked for a 230-year sentence, arguing in court papers that Stanford's crime was "one of the most egregious frauds in history."
Stanford's attorneys had asked for a sentence of about three years, the same amount of time the 62-year-old has been in federal custody.
Stanford will remain in a federal detention center in Houston for the next 30 to 60 days while the Bureau of Prisons decides where he will serve his sentence.
(Reporting by Anna Driver and Eileen O'Grady; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and Matthew Lewis)