TEXAS billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, three associates and a top Caribbean regulator were indicted on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges in an elaborate $7bn (£4.2bn) pyramid scheme to con investors, according to US Justice Department officials.
A federal judge in Virginia ordered Stanford, a flamboyant 59-year-old financier, to be transferred to Houston for a hearing on whether he should be granted bail on charges he orchestrated the fraud through his bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua. He could face life in prison if convicted on all of the charges brought by a grand jury in Texas.
Stanford, who surrendered to FBI agents outside his girlfriend’s house in Virginia, entered the federal courtroom in ankle shackles and sat with his chin in his hands during a brief hearing before US Magistrate Hannah Lauck. Stanford and executive Laura Pendergest-Holt, accountants Gilberto Lopez and Mark Kuhrt and Antigua’s leading regulator, Leroy King, face21 charges alleging they concocted to deceive investors with a Ponzi scheme.