Allen Stanford, Convicted Ponzi Schemer, Blames U.S. For Destroying His Business

Allen Stanford, facing sentencing for running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, on Thursday blamed the U.S. government for ruining his business and said he never intended to defraud anyone.

"They destroyed it and turned it to nothing," Stanford said in federal court in Houston, where he was found guilty last March of fraud and conspiracy. "Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar global financial empire."

Stanford spoke haltingly and appeared to struggle to control emotion at the sentencing hearing. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of 230 years, arguing in court papers that Stanford's crime was "one of the most egregious frauds in history." His attorneys have asked for a sentence of about 3 years, or the same amount of time Stanford has been in federal custody.

(Reporting by Anna Driver and Eileen O'Grad; Editing by Eddie Evans)