Financier R. Allen Stanford, center in green, exits after a hearing at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston, Texas. Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg
The R. Allen Stanford who’s due in a Houston federal courthouse today to start his $7 billion investment fraud trial is far different from theTexas billionaire prosecutors indicted 2 1/2 years ago.
Weeks before his June 2009 indictment, Stanford strode into the same courthouse with a high-profile defense lawyer and volunteered to surrender. U.S. marshals declined at the time to arrest the Stanford Group Co. founder, then estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.2 billion.
“I’m not a damn swindler,” Stanford said weeks before he was charged. He vowed to clear his name, take back assets seized by securities regulators, and repay more than 20,000 investors he’s accused of defrauding through allegedly bogus certificates of deposit at Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
Now 61-years-old and visibly thinner, Stanford has endured a string of setbacks since he was indicted and jailed because prosecutors said he might try to flee. In September 2009, he suffered broken facial bones in a beating by another inmate and became addicted to anti-anxiety medications prescribed by prison doctors after the attack. After completing eight months in a prison rehabilitation unit in November, Stanford claims he still can’t remember much of his life or details of his once far-flung business empire, according to his lawyers.