U.S. News

Billionaire Stanford Enters Court in Shackles

Hampton Pearson|CNBC correspondent

Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford entered a federal courtroom in shackles, shuffling slowly and looking thin, a stark contrast from his usual tan, polished look.

Stanford was indicted and jailedin a Richmond, Va. federal court Friday on charges his international banking empire was really just a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Attorneys for Stanford said their client wouldn't be a flight risk because he'd already surrendered his passport.

Still, prosecutors took no chances with the tycoon, and opted for shackles.

Defense attorneys accused the government of grandstanding.

Assistant US Attorney Stephen Tyrell countered that Stanford would continue to obstruct justice, saying “it’s an extraordinary case defrauding thousands of investors out of billions of dollars for more than a decade.” There is still at least $1.1 billion of Stanford funds unaccounted for, Tyrell said, adding, “five billion is just gone.”

Judge Lauck ordered Stanford held for a detention hearing, and under federal law, it is the defendant’s choice of location. Stanford chose Texas. Defense attorneys have requested that U.S. Marshals move Mr. Stanford as quickly as possible.

At the end of the proceeding Stanford was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals and brought to the Richmond city jail to await a flight to Houston.