Jailed financier R. Allen Stanford,convicted in 2012 of running a massive global Ponzi scheme that rivals the Madoff scandal, says he is the victim of an illegal prosecution, and "the clearest of assaults on the U.S. Constitution."
The comments come in Stanford's formal appeal of his conviction, filed in federal court on Wednesday. Stanford wrote the appeal himself at the prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence. Having fired the last of a string of court-appointed attorneys, and with no funds to hire a replacement, he is representing himself even though he has no legal background. He has also asked to argue his case in person before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, a task normally handled by experienced attorneys.
Stanford calls the case against him a "reckless action," and accuses authorities of a "by-any-means pursuit" of him to cover up their missteps in the still-unfolding financial crisis.
Stanford, once listed by Forbes as the 205th richest American, was convicted of running a $7 billion scam based on bogus certificates of deposit issued by his offshore bank in Antigua. Prosecutors alleged he skimmed much of the money to fund his lavish, jet-setting lifestyle. To date, only about $70 million has been returned to investors, or about one penny on the dollar.
In his appeal, Stanford writes that his prosecution, which began with a civil action by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009, violates both U.S. and international law.
"(T)he SEC asserted its regulatory authority over the foreign-domiciled and foreign-regulated Stanford International Bank based on jurisdiction it did not have and charges it could not substantiate," he writes.