October 29, 2015 / 7:26 PM / 4 years ago

Allen Stanford loses appeal of Ponzi scheme conviction

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford’s bid to overturn his conviction and 110-year prison sentence for running what federal prosecutors called a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

File photo of Allen Stanford leaving the Federal Courthouse where the jury found him guilty, in Houston March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans turned aside 10 arguments raised by Stanford.

These included that he was not competent to stand trial, the government did not prove its case, the sentence was too long, and the trial judge was biased toward prosecutors, including by denying him a lawyer of his choice.

“We find no evidence that the district court was partial to the government in derogation of Stanford’s right to a fair trial under the Constitution,” Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote for a three-judge panel.

Stanford represented himself in his appeal, after having retained more than a dozen lawyers over the course of his criminal case. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Once considered a billionaire but later declared indigent, Stanford was convicted by a Houston federal jury in March 2012 on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges.

Prosecutors said he ran a two-decade scam centered on the sale of fraudulent high-yielding certificates of deposit through his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, and used investor funds to make risky investments and fund a lavish lifestyle.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges over Stanford’s fraud, which authorities uncovered in 2009.

A court-appointed receiver has been liquidating Stanford’s companies. He and thousands of former Stanford investors have also pursued lawsuits against two New York law firms over their alleged dealings with Stanford.

Now 65, Stanford is housed in the high-security Coleman II federal prison in Sumterville, Florida. He is not eligible for release before 2105, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The case is U.S. v. Stanford, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-20411.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay

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