Stanford Gets 110 Years For Role In $7B Swindle | KERA News

Stanford Gets 110 Years For Role In $7B Swindle

Former Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for orchestrating one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

The sentence was handed down Thursday by U.S. District Judge David Hittner in Houston.

The financier learned his fate during a court hearing in which two people spoke on behalf of investors about their losses.

A jury in March convicted the 62-year-old Stanford on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts for taking more than $7 billion from investors.

The jury also cleared the way for U.S. authorities to seize millions in bank accounts connected to Stanford.

Prosecutors say Stanford orchestrated a 20-year scheme that took billions through the sale of certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank.

Stanford's attorneys argued he was a legitimate businessman.

AP

Court says Scouts 'perversion files' public record

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts on suspected child abusers over a period of 20 years will be open to the public.

The Supreme Court on Thursday denied an attempt by the Irving-based organization to keep the records sealed.

The files were used as evidence in a lawsuit against the Scouts in a case that ended in 2010 with a jury ruling that the organization had failed to protect a man who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the early 1980s.

A Multnomah County judge ordered the files to be opened to the public, with redactions, but the Boy Scouts appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

AP

Armstrong considering "all options" in drug charge

Lance Armstrong says he's considering all his options after new doping allegations have been raised against him.

he accusations of performance-enhancing drug use levied by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency prevent Armstrong from competing in a triathlon in France this month. In a phone interview from Paris, Armstrong told The Associated Press he's leaving France to return to the United States.

Armstrong has until June 22 to file a written response to the charges. He's waiting to see USADA's evidence and questioned its tactics.

Says Armstrong: "They are well known to move the goal line on you." He says he's innocent.

USADA says it has more than 10 former Armstrong teammates and support personnel who will testify they saw the Tour de France champion use drugs or talk about using them.

AP

Texas retail gasoline prices down nickel this week

Retail gasoline prices across Texas have dropped a nickel this week to continue a price slide that began more than two months ago.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump is $3.33 per gallon. Nationwide gasoline prices are down 3 cents this week, to settle at $3.53 per gallon.

The association says drivers in El Paso are paying the highest statewide prices for gas, at $3.51 per gallon. Fort Worth has the cheapest gasoline in the weekly survey, at an average $3.27.

It's the ninth week in a row that Texas retail gasoline prices have declined.

AAA experts say the decrease in gas prices has been largely a result of bearish global economic news and declining crude oil prices.

AP

Whooping cranes survive Texas drought, numbers up

The endangered whooping cranes that winter on the Texas Gulf Coast survived a historic drought and their numbers have risen.

Biologists had feared the cranes would not have sufficient forage because the drought had made their preferred foods scarce.

During a drought in 2009, biologists counted more than 50 dead birds. This time, they conducted prescribed burns to bring food to the surface. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday some cranes never made it to the coast, and a few left early. But they estimate there are 245 birds in the flock now. They found three dead birds.

They say the flock is so large they can't count individual birds.

The cranes' numbers have been rising since a low of 15 in 1941. They are now in Canada.

AP

Third bankruptcy in Perry's tech fund

A third company awarded taxpayer dollars through Gov. Rick Perry's business-hatching Emerging Technology Fund has gone bankrupt.

NanoTailor's filing brings the total amount of failed investments to $2.5 million.

Company President Ramon Perales told The Associated Press on Thursday his Austin-based startup folded because the state didn't fully invest $1.25 million in potential funding.

NanoTailor received $250,000 in 2010. Perales says the state later added performance benchmarks not in the original contract that the company couldn't meet. Perry's office did not immediately comment.

Two other tech fund recipients filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Started in 2005, the fund has given $192 million to more than 100 companies.

The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May. The AP was the first to locate the filing while researching the fund's recipients.

AP

More than 50,000 Texas City residents sue BP

More than 50,000 Texas City residents have joined a class-action suit against BP PLC, alleging they got sick in 2010 from a 41-day emissions release from a refinery that was the scene of a deadly explosion.

Texas has also sued BP over the release, which occurred as the British oil giant was battling the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill. The Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating.

The Galveston Daily News reports that residents say they became ill from the release. BP maintains the emissions didn't harm anyone.

Texas says BP emitted 500,000 pounds of chemicals, including carbon monoxide and benzene, during April and May in 2010.

BP recently reached a $50 million settlement with the EPA over the 2005 explosion that killed 15 people at the Texas City refinery.

AP