Financier Stanford indicted for $7B fraud

Robert Allen Stanford faces criminal charges for conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Billionaire financier Robert Allen Stanford has been indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud, actions that earned his company an estimated $7 billion dollars, prosecutors said Friday.

Stanford, who ran Stanford Group Company, turned himself in to federal authorities in Virginia on Thursday night. He faces criminal charges for a long series of alleged frauds outlined in a 21-count indictment.

He has maintained his innocence.

Three other Stanford Group Company executives and a former Antiguan official also are charged in the indictment.

"Stanford and his co-defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud investors who purchased approximately $7 billion in certificates of deposit, CDs, administered by Stanford International Bank Ltd.," said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, speaking at a Friday news conference in Washington.

Stanford International Bank Ltd. is an offshore bank on Antigua.

"Stanford and his co-defendants allegedly misused and misappropriated most of those investment assets, including diverting at least $1.6 billion into undisclosed personal loans to Stanford himself," Breuer said.

Charged along with Stanford are Stanford Group Company executives; Laura Pendergest-Holt, the chief investment officer; and Gilberto Lopez, the chief accounting officer; as well as Mark Kuhrt, who was the global controller for Stanford Financial Group Global Management, an affiliate of Stanford Group Company.

Leroy King, the former chief executive for Antigua's Financial Services Regulatory Commission, is also charged.

Stanford is scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, at 3 p.m. ET Friday.

In a written statement, his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said Stanford "is confident that a fair jury will find him not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing."

--CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report. To top of page

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