Image: Allen Stanford smiles as he waits to enter the Federal Courthouse where the jury is deliberating in his criminal trial in Houston
Richard Carson  /  Reuters
Allen Stanford smiles as he waits to enter the Federal Courthouse in Houston before a jury convicted him of running a $7.1 billion Ponzi scheme.
msnbc.com news services
updated 3/6/2012 4:55:42 PM ET 2012-03-06T21:55:42

A Houston jury Tuesday convicted Texas financier R. Allen Stanford on all but one of the charges he faced for allegedly bilking investors out of more than $7 billion in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

The federal jurors found Stanford guilty on 13 of 14 counts he faced. They found Stanford not guilty on one count of wire fraud.

The 61-year-old Stanford, whose net worth was once estimated at more than $2 billion, looked down when the verdict was read.

He faces up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charges but could be imprisoned for much longer if a judge orders his sentences be served consecutively.

Prosecutors say Stanford orchestrated a 20-year scheme that took billions through the sale of certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank.

Stanford's attorneys blamed his ex-chief financial officer.

The verdict came less than a day after a Houston federal jury said it could not reach a verdict, and U.S. District Judge David Hittner instructed jurors to keep deliberating.

Still, the verdict may prove only a moral victory for Stanford's victims, most of whom have received none of their money back.

During a six-week trial, prosecutors told how Stanford repeatedly raided the bank he owned in Antigua, Stanford International Bank, using it as his "personal ATM."

He bought a castle in Florida for one of his girlfriends and his oldest daughter lived in a million-dollar condominium in Houston. He wore custom-made suits, lived in luxury homes and on a yacht in the Caribbean and bankrolled a $20 million prize for an international cricket tournament.

The government's star witness, former Stanford aide James Davis, testified that he and Stanford faked documents and made up financial reports to calm investors and fool regulators. They funneled millions of dollars from Stanford International Bank to a secret Swiss bank account that Stanford tapped for his personal use, Davis testified.

Davis, 63, has pleaded guilty to three criminal counts.

Stanford's lawyers portrayed their client as a visionary who was not involved in his firm's daily activities. They blamed Davis for any fraud and argued that Stanford's businesses were viable until the government shut down Stanford Financial Group in Houston in February 2009. Left with no money, Stanford was declared indigent by the court and his defense was paid for with public funds.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Allen Stanford Guilty on 13 of 14 Counts

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