Stanford debts 'worried' accountant
An accountant who worked for tycoon Allen Stanford has testified that he had grown increasingly concerned that the financier would not be able to return the two billion US dollars he secretly borrowed from investors to pay for business and personal expenses, including millions to maintain his yachts and private jets.
Henry Amadio told jurors at Stanford's federal fraud trial in Houston that various businesses into which Stanford sunk money were basically a money pit that ate up investor dollars and did not turn a profit.
The money Stanford borrowed included 330 million dollars for two airlines and a 20 million dollar prize for a cricket tournament, Mr Amadio said.
"As it continued to grow ... the concern was - was it (investors' money) ever going to be paid back?" Mr Amadio said.
Prosecutors allege Stanford masterminded a fraud in which he milked investors out of more than seven billion dollars in a massive Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme centred on the sales of certificates of deposit (CD) from his bank on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua.
Authorities allege he used depositors' money to fund his businesses as well as his lavish billionaire lifestyle and that he lied to depositors by telling them their funds were being safely invested.
Stanford's attorneys contend the financier was a savvy businessman whose financial empire, headquartered in Houston, was legitimate.
They have suggested James Davis, the ex-chief financial officer for the financier's company, is behind the fraud. Davis has pleaded guilty in the case and is expected to be called by prosecutors this week.
Stanford is on trial for 14 counts, including mail and wire fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Mr Amadio said Davis also expressed concern about the growing amount of CD funds that kept Stanford's businesses afloat, even making the comment on two occasions that "the emperor has no more clothes".