Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, listed by Forbes last year as the 205th richest person in America with a net worth of $2.2 billion, in fact has less than $3 million in cash.
That is, according to the court-appointed receiver who is trying to sort out an alleged "massive Ponzi scheme" at Stanford's companies.
The new figure appears in a motion by receiver Ralph Janvey to deny Stanford's request to un-freeze $10 million to pay for his legal defense. Janvey says that would allow Stanford to use the proceeds of his fraud to defend himself.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued Stanford and his companies in February, has filed a similar motion to deny Stanford the funds.
"Stanford is not entitled to use his ill-gotten gains to pay for his defense," the SEC argued in court papers filed yesterday.
Stanford has sought to hire noted Houston defense attorney Dick DeGuerin to represent him. DeGuerin has been providing legal counsel to Stanford, but so far has not been paid.
The SEC's lawsuit alleges an $8 billion fraud by Stanford, involving high-yielding certificates of deposit sold to some 30,000 investors. Stanford has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing, but a Justice Department investigation is ongoing.