By: James W. Kraus
The two men who played key roles in the perpetuating R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion ponzi scheme were each sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday. Gilbert T. Lopez Jr. had served as chief accounting officer of Stanford Financial Group Company, and Mark J. Kuhrt had been the global controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management. They both were convicted last year following a 5 week trial on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. To top it all off, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who presided over the trial, found that both defendants obstructed justice by committing perjury at trial.
Lopez and Kuhrt..kept the misuse hidden from the public and from almost all of Stanford’s other employees and worked behind the scenes to prevent the misuse from being discovered.
According to DOJ’s news release, the evidence presented at trial established that Lopez and Kuhrt were aware of and tracked Stanford’s misuse of the assets of Stanford International Bank (SIB), kept the misuse hidden from the public and from almost all of Stanford’s other employees and worked behind the scenes to prevent the misuse from being discovered. They also helped Stanford falsely represent to SIB customers during the economic crash in late 2008 that Stanford had infused hundreds of millions of dollars into SIB when he had not. As part of that effort, Lopez and Kuhrt helped design a fraudulent real estate transaction that involved falsely inflating parcels of land purchased at $63.5 million to a purported value of $3.2 billion.
While the sentences for Kuhrt and Lopez are severe, they of course pale in comparison to the 110 year sentence Stanford himself received following a separate trial last year.
James M. Davis, Stanford’s chief financial officer – who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government soon after SIB was shut down in February 2009 and testified at both Stanford’s trial and the trial of Lopez and Kuhrt – was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his role in the scheme.
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