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Sides rest in fraud trial of Texas billionaire

By the CNN Wire Staff
February 29, 2012 -- Updated 0810 GMT (1610 HKT)
Financier Robert Allen Stanford leaves the Bob Casey Federal Building and Courthouse June 26, 2009, in Houston, Texas.
Financier Robert Allen Stanford leaves the Bob Casey Federal Building and Courthouse June 26, 2009, in Houston, Texas.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Closing statements are scheduled to start Wednesday
  • Robert Allen Stanford is accused of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme
  • Prosecutors have said there are about 30,000 victims of the alleged fraud
  • The trial has suffered a series of significant delays

(CNN) -- Prosecutors and the defense have rested in the fraud trial of Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford, who is accused of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Closing statements are scheduled to start Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Stanford sold billions of dollars in certificates of deposit administered by Stanford International Bank Ltd., an offshore bank in Antigua. The billionaire misrepresented to investors the financial condition of that bank, its investment strategy and the extent of regulatory oversight, they say. Stanford also allegedly misused most of those investments.

He has maintained his innocence. In a tearful 2009 interview, Stanford told ABC News: "I would die and go to hell if it's a Ponzi scheme."

The high-profile case has suffered a series of significant delays since Stanford was first indicted in 2009.

Since then, the defendant has been represented by at least 14 different attorneys. The court found Stanford incompetent to stand trial and ordered that he undergo medical treatment in January 2011. Many months later, he was found to be competent again.

Stanford's defense team then asked for a continuance -- a motion that a judge denied late last year.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge David Hittner of Houston wrote that the public's interest in a speedy trial is "particularly acute" in a case that involves potentially thousands of victims and billions of dollars in losses.

Prosecutors have said that there are about 30,000 victims of the alleged fraud, with thousands of U.S. citizens among the investors.

"This trial will decide not just whether Stanford is guilty of the criminal charges, but also whether hundreds of million of dollars of investor funds currently frozen may be forfeited and returned to his alleged victims," Hittner wrote in December.

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