Ponzi Trial To Open For R. Allen Stanford

fromKUHF

The fraud trial of Texas financier R. Allen Stanford is scheduled to begin Monday morning in Houston. Stanford is charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Stanford's trial has been delayed repeatedly, in part because he's fired his legal teams multiple times.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a name back in the news: R. Allen Stanford. In the midst of the financial crisis he was charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme against thousands of investors in the United States and Latin America. Now his trial is set to begin today in Houston.

From member station KUHF, Andrew Schneider has more.

ANDREW SCHNEIDER, BYLINE: Stanford's trial has been delayed repeatedly, in part because he's fired his legal teams multiple times. The judge ultimately froze Stanford's assets and ordered him to stick with the attorneys he has now.

Adam Gershowitz of the University of Houston Law Center says those delays could now work against Stanford.

ADAM GERSHOWITZ: In these kinds of white collar cases, where you've got very wealthy defendants, oftentimes you've got a defense team that's in a position to outmatch the government and make it really tough for them. Here, you're in a different boat.

SCHNEIDER: But the amount of money involved and the complexity of Stanford's offshore dealings raise the bar for the government.

Geoffrey Corn is a professor at South Texas College of Law.

GEOFFREY CORN: The challenge of the prosecutors in a case like this is to demystify it and to boil it down to its bare elements, which is, you lied to get people to give you money, and then you used that money to lie to the people who had already given you money that that was their profit; the classic pyramid scheme.

SCHNEIDER: And, Corn says, not to mention siphoning huge amounts off for personal gain.

For NPR News, I'm Andrew Schneider in Houston.

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