Allen Stanford

Sir Robert Allen Stanford KCN (born March 24, 1950) is a prominent financier, philanthropist, and sponsor of professional sports. A fifth-generation Texan who resides in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, he holds dual citizenship, having become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda ten years ago. Stanford was the first American to be knighted by that Commonwealth nation[2] and was presented with the honour by the then Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir James Carlisle.

In early 2009, Stanford became the subject of several fraud investigations, and on February 17, 2009, was charged by the SEC with fraud and multiple violations of U.S. securities laws for alleged "massive ongoing fraud" involving $8 billion in certificates of deposits.[3][4] Despite the raid of three of Stanford's offices in Houston, Memphis, and Tupelo, Mississippi, authorities have not located Stanford.[5]

Business career

Stanford is the chairman of the privately held, wholly owned Stanford Financial Group of Companies. He began his business career in Houston, Texas, making his first fortune in real estate in the early 1980s. In 1983, Stanford received a default court judgment of $31,800 by a landlord for back rent on a failed health club in Waco.[6] Since then he has expanded the insurance and real estate company his grandfather founded in 1932 into a global wealth management firm. Stanford Financial Group’s clients are affluent investors, institutions, and emerging growth companies from 136 countries on six continents. Assets under management or advisement are apparently in excess of US$50 billion.


Stanford and his companies have established a significant presence in golf, polo, tennis, cricket and sailing, sports which are popular among Stanford’s wealthy clients. Stanford Financial Group is the title sponsor for such sporting events as the Stanford US Open Polo Championship, the Stanford USPA Silver Cup, the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week, the PGA Tour Stanford St. Jude Championship, and the Stanford International Pro-Am. In 2009, the final event of the LPGA season, now known as the ADT Championship, will be renamed the Stanford Financial Tour Championship. Stanford also sponsors professional golfers Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas and David Toms as well as Morgan Pressel on the LPGA Tour. In tennis, the company is a sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open. Stanford also sponsors the Champions Series Tennis Tournaments featuring Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.


Stanford created and funded the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament in the West Indies, for which he built his own ground in Antigua. The first Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournament was held in July and August 2006. The second tournament took place in January and February 2008 with a global television audience of 300 million.[7] Trinidad and Tobago took first place in this tournament. This team also took home the US280k Super Series prize after defeating Middlesex on 27 October 2008.[8]

In June 2008, Stanford and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) signed a deal for five Twenty20 internationals between England and a West Indies all-star XI with a total prize fund of £12.270m (US $20 million) to be awarded to the team that wins the Championship. It was the largest prize ever offered to a team for a single tournament.[9] This was in jeopardy after a row with Digicel, the sponsors of the West Indies cricket team, who were unhappy about sponsorship of the event. Eventually, the dispute was sorted out and the first Championship was won by Stanford Superstars, who defeated the England team by 10 wickets, humiliating them in the Twenty 20 arena. [10]

On February 17, 2009, when news of the fraud investigation became public, the ECB and WICB withdrew from talks with Stanford on sponsorship.[11][12]


Stanford was committed to many charitable causes around the world[citation needed], including his main charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee.[citation needed]

Legal troubles

Trademark infringement lawsuit

In 2001 Stanford said publicly that his great-great-great grandfather was a relative of Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University. Stanford University denied any connection, and in 2008 filed a trademark infringement suit against Stanford claiming the school’s name was being used “in a way that creates public confusion” and is “injurious.”[13]

Fraud allegations

See also: Stanford Financial Group

Reports surfaced in early February 2009 that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a major U.S. private-sector oversight body, were investigating Stanford's company Stanford Financial Group, [14] questioning the way that Stanford International Bank manages to consistently make higher than market returns to its depositors.[15] A former executive told SEC officials that Stanford presented hypothetical investment results as actual historical data in sales pitches to clients.[16] Stanford claimed his CDs were as safe as, or safer than, U.S. government-insured accounts.[17]

Federal agents raided the offices of Stanford Financial on February 17, 2009,[18] and the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Allen Stanford with "massive ongoing fraud" centred on an eight billion dollar investment scheme.[3][19] Stanford's assets along with those of his companies were frozen and placed into receivership by a U.S. federal judge.[20]

Stanford's whereabouts are currently unknown, and U.S. marshalls assisting the SEC have been unable to serve him with court orders.[21][22] CNBC reported that Stanford tried to flee the country on February 17. He contacted a private jet owner and attempted to pay for a flight to Antigua with a credit card, but was refused because the company would accept only a wire transfer.[23]

As of February 18, Stanford has not been criminally charged and a U.S. Marshall's spokesman said he was not aware of any arrest warrant.[21][22]

Money laundering investigation

The FBI and other agencies have been conducting an ongoing investigation of Stanford since 2008 for possible involvement in money laundering for Mexico's Gulf Cartel.[24]

Tax liens

Public records show Stanford owes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes. There are four federal tax liens from 2007 and 2008 against Stanford totaling more than $212 million.[25]


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