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International financier R. Allen Stanford was sentenced Thursday to 110 years in prison for orchestrating a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that spanned 20 years.
Stanford duped an estimated 28,000 people, selling fraudulent high-interested certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank on Antigua. He assured investors that their money was safe as he funneled funds into a Swiss bank account and financed his own extravagant lifestyle, which included owning a cricket team, the New York Times reports.
In March, a jury convicted Stanford on 14 fraud-related counts at the end of a seven-week long trial. Prosecutors asked he be sentenced to 230 years in prison, according to the Associated Press. Stanford’s attorneys, meanwhile, asked for a max sentence of 44 months, which he would have completed in just another eight months since he has been in prison since his June 2009 arrest.
The Guardian reports that Stanford spoke for about 40 minutes at his sentencing hearing Thursday, declaring his innocence and accusing the prosecution of using "Gestapo" tactics.