Federal prosecutor Gregg Costa summarized the indictment against Stanford. The fourteen charges include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Asked how he pled, Stanford said, “I plead not guilty to every account.”
Costa argued Stanford had run a twenty-two year Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $7 billion. He said the government will call a number of Stanford’s ex-employees as witnesses, including Stanford’s former chief financial officer James Davis. Davis has pled guilty in connection with the alleged fraud and faces up to thirty years in prison.
Robert Scardino made the case for the defense. Scardino argued Stanford’s financial empire was real. He blamed government-appointed receivers for destroying the value of Stanford’s investments.
Stanford’s trial was postponed throughout 2011 as his legal team argued a prison beating had left him incompetent to assist in his own defense. Nevertheless, Scardino said Stanford will take the stand and is prepared to answer all the prosecution’s questions. The trial will resume this morning with the government’s first witness.