Stanford's release on bond delayed by judge

/ Source: staff and news service reports

Allen Stanford, who faces criminal charges related to a massive Ponzi scheme, will have to stew behind bars a few more days before he finds out if he will await trial at home or in prison.

A U.S. judge on Friday ruled that the accused swindler must remain in jail at least until June 29 while the court weighs a motion by the U.S. government to block his release on a $500,000 bond.

"Defendant Stanford is ordered detained pending this court's ruling on a motion to revoke the release order," U.S. District Judge David Hittner wrote in an order.

Federal prosecutors, who believe the billionaire is a flight risk, have appealed U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy's decision to let Stanford go, provided he comes up with $100,000 for a cash bond, lives with his girlfriend in a Houston high-rise apartment and wears a tracking device.

"The United States seeks an order detaining defendant Stanford until trial because there is a serious risk that he will flee if released on bond," federal prosecutors said in court papers filed on Thursday.

Defense attorneys opposed the prosecutors' request. In a written motion responding to a prosecution motion, defense attorney Dick DeGuerin asked Hittner to uphold Stacey's ruling.

Stanford, 59, has been locked up since last week when he surrendered to federal agents in Virginia.

Stanford appeared at the hearing on Thursday in a prison-issued orange jumpsuit. He was led into the courthouse by U.S. Marshals on Friday morning still shackled but smiling and wearing a suit. "I feel great," he shouted to reporters in answer to a question.

And even at his detention hearing on Thursday, the flamboyant sports patron seemed very relaxed, smiling frequently at his supporters, which included his parents, estranged wife, two former girlfriends and at least four of his six children.

Paul Pelletier, a federal prosecutor, argued at the detention hearing on Thursday that Stanford has the motive to flee because if convicted, he faces life in prison.

Stanford also has a "network of wealthy acquaintances" to tap for financial support and he may have access to large sums of money that the government has not been able to locate, prosecutors said.

DeGuerin argued his client had been left destitute by a court-ordered asset freeze. He also told Judge Stacy that Stanford offered on three occasions to surrender to authorities, a sign that he is willing to stick around and fight the charges.

Golfer Vijay Singh has offered to help pay the $500,000 bail for Stanford, but a federal magistrate would not allow it because the three-time major champion is not a U.S. citizen.

CNBC reported that Stanford’s attorney indicated in court Thursday that Singh, who is from Fiji, offered to sign for a portion of the bail. Singh has an endorsement deal with Stanford Financial reportedly worth $8 million. Although no longer being paid, Singh has continued to wear the Stanford logo on his visor and shirt.

A 21-count indictment lays out a scheme where Stanford and others falsified records and bribed regulators who had oversight over Stanford's offshore bank in Antigua, bilking the banks' investors out of $7 billion.

Stanford has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.