At long last, R. Allen Stanford received his punishment on Thursday: The Houston financier will serve 110 years in prison for a $7 billion financial fraud that left tens of thousands of victims in its wake.
This sentencing is significant following the trial of Bernie Madoff, who pled guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft in 2009, and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his multi-billion Ponzi scheme (to-date the largest, longest fraud in U.S. history).
Madoff was apologetic at his sentencing. Stanford, on the other hand, maintained his innocence despite the 13-count guilty verdict delivered by a jury in March, blaming the government and exonerating himself to the very end.
In a final hearing on Thursday, Stanford's attorney argued that investments made by the Stanford Group were not a Ponzi scheme — that the government uses the term because it "sounds sexy for the media."
Wearing green prison garb, Stanford spoke on his own behalf at the sentencing. According to live-tweets from courthouse observers, he recalled his severe prison beating in 2010, a prescription drug addiction and recovery, plus nearly three years of jail time already served.
The 62-year-old Stanford asked for "a fair shot," but the prosecution called his statement "obscene" and urged U.S. District Judge David Hittner to sentence the swindler to 230 years (the maximum allowed).
Judge Hittner decided upon a 110-year sentence and a $5.9 billion financial forfeiture.