In a stunning blow to billionaire Allen Stanford, the chief financial officer of his collapsed empire told prosecutors that his boss had been stealing from investors for decades while paying bribes to regulators and even performing blood oaths never to reveal his secrets.
James Davis described desperate meetings in Miami with Stanford and members of his inner circle — including a rendezvous in a hangar at Miami International Airport — to keep the operation from unraveling as regulators were closing in early this year.
The plea agreement Thursday in Houston by Stanford's longtime confidant represents the most devastating testimony so far against the disgraced banker accused of concocting a massive Ponzi scheme.
Investors from around the world — including more than 2,000 from Stanford's luxurious offices in downtown Miami — were scammed out of more than $7 billion over the past decade, say prosecutors.
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Stanford, 59, who has denied any wrongdoing, was rushed to the hospital just hours before the plea agreement was filed in court, complaining of a rapid heartbeat and chest pains.
Though Davis had been cooperating with prosecutors for months, his appearance in court was his first public admission of his role in diverting billions from investors.
"I did wrong. I'm sorry. I apologize. I take responsibility for my actions," said Davis, 60, as he was escorted from the federal courthouse after the hearing.
For years, Davis was pivotal in helping Stanford expand his business operations from a small bank in Montserrat to one of the largest private financial institutions in the hemisphere.
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