Stanford Execs Face Prison for Helping Fraud

     HOUSTON (CN) – A federal jury in Texas convicted two former executives who worked for R. Allen Stanford of helping to perpetrate a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
     Gilbert Lopez Jr. had been the chief accounting officer for Stanford Financial Group Company, and Mark Kuhrt had been the former global controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management.
     Their boss was convicted in a separate trial held earlier this year of 13 of 14 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud connected to the sale of phony certificates of deposit. Stanford was sentenced in August to 110 years in federal prison.
     Investigators found that Stanford used assets from his Antigua-based bank Stanford International Bank to fund his personal business ventures and lavish lifestyle.
     Evidence at Lopez and Kuhrt’s trial showed that the executives knew about and tracked Stanford’s misuse of assets. The jury found that Lopez and Kuhrt actively hid the misuse from the public, their colleagues and authorities.
     The trial against Lopez and Kuhrt spanned five weeks, and jurors deliberated for three days.
     Lopez, 70, and Kuhrt, 40, both of Houston, were convicted on 10 of 11 counts in the indictment. Each defendant was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. Each was found not guilty on one wire fraud count.
     U.S. District Judge David Hittner immediately remanded both men into custody.
     Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2013. Each count carries up to 20 years in prison.
     Jeffrey Goldberg, a deputy chief attorney with the Justice Department, and Andrew Warren, a Justice Department trial attorney, prosecuted the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Varnado of the Southern District of Texas.

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