Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, who is accused of running a massive $7-billion Ponzi scheme, is incompetent to stand trial and must go to a rehabilitation center for addiction to pain medication, a U.S. judge in Houston has ruled.
The following are key facts about the disgraced business magnate and a timeline of his legal battle:
-Allen Stanford, a fifth-generation Texan, was born on March 24, 1950. He was knighted by Antigua and Barbuda in 2006. However, after the scam erupted his adopted country stripped him of the knighthood. Stanford holds dual U.S. and Antigua and Barbuda citizenship.
He was a generous sponsor of sporting events and had conducted a private Twnty20 cricket championship in the Caribbean. Sports personalities like golfer Vijay Sing and English soccer star Michael Owen promoted his companies. He also sponsored tennis, polo and golf tournaments.
"Stanford graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1974, Stanford graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance," says a Wikipedia entry.
Stanford tasted first success as a businessman in the early 1980s when he and his father bought up undervalued real estate in the Houston area following the oil bubble and made a fortune selling them at higher prices.
His flagship companies included Stanford Financial Group Global Management and Stanford Global Advisory LLC, which was based in St.Croix and Stanford International Bank, which was headquartered in Antigua. At one time his company had clients in as many as 140 countries around the globe.
A Wikipedia entry sums up the road to his emergence as a business magnate controlling a huge global wealth management company:
"Stanford moved to the Caribbean in the 1980s, first to Montserrat and then to Antigua. With the Stanford Finance, he started a bank on the island of Montserrat in 1985, Guardian International Bank, which he moved to Antigua during a British crackdown on Montserrat's offshore-banking industry in 1980s and renamed Stanford International Bank, an affiliate of Stanford Financial."
According to Reuters, Stanford's grandfather, Lodis, founded the first Stanford Company during the Great Depression in 1932 in the small central-Texas town of Mexia.
However, a Wikipedia entry says Allen Stanford falsely stated that his grandfather started Stanford Financial Group in 1932 and that Lodis had started out as a barber before becoming an insurance salesman.
I February 2009 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged three companies owned by Stanford with a massive $7-billion investment scheme fraud. SEC said Stanford ran a "massive Ponzi scheme" and defrauded investors of billions of dollars. His bank, Stanford International Bank, falsified the records to hide the fraud.
His assets were frozen and he was ordered Stanford to surrender his passport. According to a CNN report he had tried to flee the country when his offices were raided. "He contacted a private jet owner and attempted to pay for a light to Antigua with a credit card, but was refused because the company would accept only a wire transfer," says a Wikipedia entry.
FBI agents arrested Stanford on June 18, 2009 and he pleaded not guilty on June 25. In August, a former top official at Stanford International Bank pleaded guilty to charges related to alleged fraud. And in September, Stanford was hurt in a prison brawl.
On December 17, 009, a U.S. judge said Stanford's trial would start in January 2011.