Ex-Stanford Executives Get 20-Year Sentences

February 14, 2013

Two former Stanford Financial Group executives were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding convicted financier Robert Allen Stanford in perpetuating a massive Ponzi scheme, the Department of Justice said.

Gilbert T. Lopez Jr., former chief accounting officer of Stanford Financial Group Co., and Mark J. Kuhrt, former global controller of Stanford Financial Group Global Management, were convicted by a Houston federal jury in November of last year.

The men, both from Houston, were convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, the DOJ said.

Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas, who presided over the trial, sentenced Mr. Lopez and Mr. Kuhrt to serve three years of supervised release and ordered Mr. Lopez to pay a $25,000 fine, along with the prison terms. He also found that both men committed perjury at trial.

Evidence presented at the trial showed that Mr. Lopez and Mr. Kuhrt were aware of and tracked Stanford's misuse of Stanford International Bank's assets, 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, the DOJ said.

Jack Zimmermann, lead counsel for Mr. Lopez, told Dow Jones Newswires that he is "very disappointed." The sentence was expected to be closer to that of James Davis, former finance chief of Stanford Financial who last month was given five years in jail for his role in the scheme. Mr. Zimmermann described Mr. Davis as the architect of the fraud. He plans to appeal the conviction.

Lawyers for Mr. Kuhrt weren't immediately available for comment.

Former Texas businessman Mr. Stanford is serving a 110-year sentence for stealing billions of dollars in investors' money and investing much of it in unprofitable private businesses he controlled. Laura Pendergest-Holt, Stanford's former chief investment officer, is serving a three-year sentence.


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