What is Allen Stanford’s Net Worth?
Allen Stanford is a convicted financial fraudster and former financier who has a net worth of $0. At his peak, Allen Stanford’s net worth was $2 billion. He was sentenced to 110 years in federal prison in 2012 for operating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. Previously, he served as the chairman and CEO of the Stanford Financial Group, and contributed millions of dollars to politicians in various countries. Before his conviction, Stanford was considered the leading benefactor of Antigua and Barbuda, where he owned a private island, a newspaper business, and a cricket ground.
Early Life and Education
Allen Stanford was born as Robert Allen Stanford on March 24, 1950 in Mexia, Texas to James, the mayor of Mexia, and Sammie, a nurse. After his parents divorced in 1959, he lived with his mother. As an adolescent, Stanford attended Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth. He went on to attend Baylor University in Waco, graduating in 1974 with his BA in finance.
Stanford began his business career in Waco, Texas, where he opened a bodybuilding gym that ultimately failed. He had better success as a real estate speculator in Houston following the Texas oil bubble burst of the early 1980s. With his father, Stanford made millions purchasing depressed real estate and selling it when the market recovered. During this time, he moved to the West Indies, first to Montserrat and then to Antigua. In Montserrat, Stanford established Guardian International Bank through his family’s company the Stanford Financial Group. In the midst of a British crackdown on Montserrat’s offshore banking industry not long after that, Stanford moved the company to Antigua and renamed it Stanford International Bank. In 1993, he gained control of the Stanford Financial Group from his father and became its chairman and CEO.
Criminal Activity and Charges
In early 2009, Stanford and the Stanford Financial Group were under multiple fraud investigations by the SEC, the FBI, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, among other groups. The investigations focused on the higher-than-market returns that the Bank claimed to make for its depositors. Also raising red flags was a leaked cable message from the US Embassy in the Bahamas that reported that companies under Stanford’s control allegedly engaged in bribery, money laundering, and political manipulation. On February 17, 2009, federal agents raided the Stanford Financial Group offices; Stanford was subsequently charged by the SEC with fraud and several violations of US securities laws. A little over a week later, the SEC described the alleged fraud as a “massive Ponzi scheme” estimated at around $8 billion. In June of 2009, Stanford surrendered himself to authorities.
Trial and Conviction
Although Stanford’s trial date was set for early 2011, the district judge declared that Stanford was unfit to stand trial due to impaired judgment from his anti-anxiety substance addiction. He was subsequently incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Houston. The following month, Stanford issued a counter-claim of $7.2 billion in damages against the SEC and FBI. In May of 2011, seven charges against him were dropped, leaving 14 remaining. By the end of the year, Stanford was being held at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina. He was finally declared fit to stand trial in December, with the trial commencing early the next year. After three hours of deliberation on March 6, 2012, the jury convicted Stanford of masterminding a Ponzi scheme.
On June 14, 2012, Stanford received a sentence of 110 years in federal prison. He was also ordered to forfeit $5.9 billion, and was permanently banned from the securities industry. Stanford is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman in Sumterville, Florida, where his earliest possible release date is in March of 2103.
Interests in Antigua and Barbuda
During the time of his criminal investigation in 2009, Stanford was described by the Houston Chronicle as the “leading benefactor, promoter, employer, and public persona” of Antigua and Barbuda, where he had been appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Nation. In the country, he established and funded the cricket tournament Stanford 20/20, for which he built his own ground. The tournament was first held in the summer of 2006, with Guyana defeating Trinidad and Tobago in the final. Following the revelation of Stanford’s crimes, it was alleged that he had used the tournament as a method of money laundering.
Among his other interests in Antigua and Barbuda, Stanford owned the private Maiden Island, and also owned a newspaper business. His business was shut down in 2010 following his fraud scandal. Moreover, he was stripped of his knighthood by Antigua and Barbuda’s National Honours Committee.
Stanford was married to a woman named Susan. She allegedly engaged in tax fraud with her husband, as the two were found to have under-reported their 1990 federal taxes by around $423,000.