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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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CFO in Stanford Ponzi Gets Five-Year Sentence

HOUSTON (CN) - A federal judge ordered a five-year sentence Tuesday to the star witness who helped put Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford away for life.

James Davis, 64, worked as chief financial officer for Stanford International Bank and Stanford Financial Group.

He began cooperating with the government in 2009 shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Stanford and three of his companies with orchestrating a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 30,000 investors from 113 countries.

Stanford Group Co. and related entities sold certificates of deposit with unusually high interest rates issued by its Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, and then used investor funds to cover its liabilities.

Stanford attributed the rates to unique investment strategy that supposedly made double-digit returns possible.

Davis' testimony led jurors to convict Stanford of 13 of 14 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud in March.

Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in federal prison in June.

Davis also testified during the trials of Stanford's former chief accounting officer and global controller, Gilbert Lopez Jr. and Mark Kuhrt, whom a jury convicted in November of helping Stanford carry out his scheme.

"As part of his 2009 guilty plea, Davis admitted that he was aware of Stanford's misuse of SIB's assets, kept the misuse hidden from the public and from almost all of Stanford's other employees and worked to prevent the misuse from being discovered," the Justice Department said in a statement. "In addition, Davis acknowledged that in January 2009, when the SEC sought testimony and documents related to SIB's entire investment portfolio, he conspired with others in an effort to impede the SEC's investigation and help SIB continue operating."

U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Davis on Tuesday and also ordered him to pay back $1 billion in criminal proceeds from the Ponzi scheme.

Davis roomed with Stanford in college and started out as a bookkeeper for Stanford Financial Group.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up a case involving Stanford investors who want to attempt recovery via state class actions.

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