HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford rested their case on Monday without having the once high-flying businessman testify at his fraud trial on charges he bilked investors out of more than $7 billion.
The jailed financier's attorneys told U.S. District Judge David Hittner that Stanford will not take the witness stand in his own defense. Stanford's attorneys spent about nine days presenting their case, with their final witness testifying earlier Monday. Prosecutors took about three weeks presenting their case.
Closing arguments in the trial are set for Wednesday.
Stanford, 61, is accused of orchestrating a 20-year scheme that bilked more than $7 billion from investors through the sale of certificates of deposit from his bank on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua. They also allege Stanford, whose financial empire was headquartered in Houston, lied to depositors by telling them their funds were being safely invested but instead spent it on his businesses and his lavish lifestyle.
Defense attorneys have tried to show the financier was a savvy businessman whose business empire was legitimate. They have blamed Stanford's ex-chief financial officer, who was the prosecution's star witness, for the alleged fraud. They have told jurors he was trying to consolidate his businesses to pay back investors when authorities seized his companies.
Stanford is on trial for 14 counts, including mail and wire fraud, and could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison if convicted. Once considered among the wealthiest people in the United States with an estimated net worth of more than $2 billion, he has been jailed without bond since his indictment in 2009.