Exclusive: Tearful Allen Stanford Expects Indictment in Two Weeks

In first interview, the financier denies Ponzi scheme, drug cartel connection.

ByABC News
April 6, 2009, 2:36 PM

April 6, 2009— -- Flamboyant financier 'Sir' Allen Stanford expects to be indicted by a federal grand jury in the next two weeks, he told ABC News in an interview in which he cried, denied wrongdoing and threatened to punch his questioner in the mouth.

"I would die and go to hell if it's a Ponzi scheme," Stanford said in reaction to civil allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that he bilked thousands of customers in an $8 billion fraudulent scheme involving "self-styled certificates of deposits" with "improbable" rates of return.

"Baloney. Baloney," Stanford told ABC News. "It's not a Ponzi scheme. If it was a Ponzi scheme, why are they finding billions and billions of dollars all over the place?"

Watch the full story tonight on World News with Charles Gibson at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The SEC says it has frozen all of Stanford's assets it has found, including $4.6 billion which a federal judge recently "unfroze" so it could be distributed to his depositors and customers. According to SEC officials, only $500 million connected to the alleged fraud has been recovered so far.

Click here to watch an excerpt from the exclusive interview.

Stanford says he is assembling a legal team, including Houston criminal defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin, to fight the indictment he expects soon.

A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment on the Stanford investigation but a senior official said the case is "moving along rapidly."

Stanford was near tears throughout the interview, and at times cried as he described how the SEC action had deprived him of being listed as the 405th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes magazine.

"I'm the maverick rich Texan where they can put the moose head on the wall. And that's the only reason they went after me," Stanford said. "I'm fighting for my survival and for my integrity."

Asked about descriptions that compared his financial empire to that of convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, Stanford reacted with anger.

"Bullsh--. That's bullsh--," he said. "It makes me madder than hell and it touches the core of my soul."

Asked about descriptions that compared his financial empire to that of convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, Stanford reacted with anger.

\"Bullsh--. That's bullsh--,\" he said. \"It makes me madder than hell and it touches the core of my soul.\"

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