* Amount said to reflect sums received from CD investors
* US seeks 230 years prison for convicted Ponzi schemer
* Stanford declared indigent in 2010
* Sentencing set for June 14
By Jonathan Stempel
June 12 In a demand more likely to remain
symbolic than be fulfilled, the U.S. government wants Allen
Stanford to forfeit $5.9 billion from his massive Ponzi scheme,
even though the convicted financier has been declared indigent.
The demand requires court approval, and was made two days
before Stanford, who was once considered a billionaire, is to be
sentenced for operating a multi-billion dollar fraud. Stanford,
62, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
According to a Tuesday filing with the U.S. District Court
in Houston, the government said the $5.9 billion represents a
sum that Stanford's Antigua-based bank had received from
investors in certificates of deposit when it was put into
receivership in February 2009.
Prosecutors said Stanford International Bank Ltd had $7.2
billion of CD account balances at that time, of which $1.3
billion was fictitious interest.
"While $5.9 billion is clearly a massive amount of money, it
is not at all excessive" given Stanford's involvement, U.S.
Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a court filing.
He called the requested amount "conservative," but said it
might be harder to prove a higher amount given the duration of
Stanford's fraud and lack of complete records.
Neither Stanford's lawyers nor Magidson's office immediately
responded to requests for comment.
Once considered a billionaire but declared indigent in 2010,
Stanford was convicted on March 6 by a federal jury on fraud,
conspiracy and obstruction charges related to his alleged
two-decade scam, centered on the sale of bogus CDs.
Calling Stanford a "ruthless predator" and "among the
greediest, most selfish, and utterly remorseless criminals," the
government recommended that he serve a 230-year prison term, the
most recommended under federal law.
That term would be 80 years more than Bernard Madoff got in
2009 for his Ponzi scheme. Madoff was also ordered to forfeit
$170.8 billion, more than twice his estimated fraud.
Stanford, in contrast, is seeking a prison term of 31 to 44
months, which could result in his release because he has already
been in custody for three years, according to the government.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner presided over Stanford's
six-week trial, and will hand down his sentence. He must also
approve any forfeiture order.
The case is U.S. v. Stanford, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of Texas, No. 09-cr-00342.