Allen Stanford: The Man Who Bought Cricket documentary on Sky, what is a Ponzi scheme - and where is he now?

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Stanford was once considered one of the richest men in the US, with an estimated net worth of more than £1.3 billion

The final instalment of Sky Documentaries’ three-part documentary series looking at the exploits of fraudster Allen Stanford airs tonight (9 January).

The Man Who Bought Cricket has been investigating the unbelievable story of Stanford, who conned his way into billions of dollars and used his fortune to lure the English cricket team to a ‘winner takes all’ one-off game against the West Indies.

But who is he, and where is he now?

Here is everything you need to know about him.

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Who is Allen Stanford?

Stanford, now 71, was jailed by a judge in Houston, Texas, in 2012, after being convicted of orchestrating one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraud that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organisation running the operation.

Stanford was once considered one of the richest men in the US, with an estimated net worth of more than $2 billion (£1.3 billion), despite growing up in rural Texas and having no prior experience in banking.

His financial empire stretched from the US to Latin America and the Caribbean. But after his arrest, all of his assets were seized and he had to rely on court-appointed lawyers to defend him.

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Calling Stanford arrogant and remorseless, prosecutors said he used the money from investors who bought certificates of deposit (CDs) from his bank in Antigua to fund a string of failed businesses, bribe regulators and pay for a lavish lifestyle that included yachts, a fleet of private jets and sponsorship of cricket tournaments.

What were his links to cricket?

Stanford had links to English cricket.

In 2008, he had signed a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play a series of potentially lucrative matches following the format of a million-dollar-a-man, winner-takes-all contest between England and a team of Stanford Superstars in his adopted home of Antigua.

The Twenty20 matches in the Caribbean, worth a combined £10 million, were an attempt to raise the profile of the game among young people in the area.

The following year Stanford was charged with fraud, and England’s cricketing chiefs severed all links with Stanford after the allegations levied against him forced the ECB into a rethink; it was announced that all contractual links had been terminated.

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In 2016, Stanford said in an interview with BBC Sport, from his high-security prison in Florida, that he regretted the damage done to cricket.

Where is he now?

In March 2012, Stanford was convicted by a jury on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts for taking more than $7 billion (£4.5 billion) from investors.

In June of the same year, he was sentenced by a US District Judge in Houston to 110 years in prison, after prosecutors asked that Stanford be sentenced to 230 years in prison, the maximum possible.

Stanford’s lawyers had sought a maximum of 44 months, a sentence he could have completed within about eight months.

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Stanford is currently serving his 110-year sentence at United States Penitentiary, Coleman II, about 55 miles north-west of Orlando, Florida.

How can I watch it?

The third and final instalment of The Man Who Bought Cricket airs at 9pm on Sky Documentaries.

The previous two episodes are available to catch up on now through Now TV.

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