Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford appears in federal court in Va. after indictment announced

Billionaire Stanford appears before Va. judge

RICHMOND, Va. — Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford is in federal court in Virginia facing a judge just hours after authorities announced a 21-count indictment against him.

Stanford told U.S. Magistrate M. Hannah Lauck on Friday that he understood the charges against him. Prosecutors say his international banking empire was really just a Ponzi scheme built on lies and bribery to swindle investors out of $7 billion.

Stanford turned himself in to authorities Thursday night. His troubled Stanford Financial Group has been under investigation by a grand jury in Houston.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges earlier this year against Stanford and his top executives.

Stanford has maintained his innocence.

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