Sir Allen Stanford “wasn’t raised to be a crook,” says his father James, who hopes his son is not, in fact, a crook. Here’s more on the alleged fraudster’s formative years, brought to you by the crack investigative team at the Wall Street Journal:
James Stanford said his son was an average, rambunctious boy who loved playing football and basketball. In college, at his father’s alma mater, Baylor University in nearby Waco, he loved scuba diving and weight lifting. His roommate was James M. Davis, who later joined Allen Stanford at Stanford Financial as chief financial officer. [Well, that explains a lot.]
After college Allen Stanford opened a health club in Waco, but it failed, Texas state court records show. He went to work for a relative in Florida who peddled real estate near Disney World to former employees of a refinery in Aruba who had retirement payments they wanted to invest, his father said.
Allen Stanford returned to Texas to work with his father buying up distressed properties in Houston and Austin, capitalising on selling it to the overseas investors Allen Stanford had met while working in Florida. After about four years, the market dried up and it was then he began luring the Aruban investors to a bank he started with his father on the Caribbean island of Montserrat in 1985. He moved the bank to Antigua amid a British crackdown on Montserrat’s offshore-banking industry later in the decade. Read more >
Then there’s the “related to the Stanford University Stanfords” business, which Allen’s dad admits is almost certainly a crock:
Allen Stanford has long claimed that he is related to the Stanford family that founded the Palo Alto, Calif., university. Stanford University claims otherwise. When asked about the family tie, James Stanford said when Stanford Financial was first created his son hired genealogists to find out if he might be kin to the other Stanfords. “He said it might be good for public relations,” said James Stanford, who added that maybe there was a family connection “way, way back but not enough to say we were even kissing cousins.”
Sir Allen and Bernie Madoff sound like they’d get along famously. (Maybe they did!)