Judge in Va. orders billionaire to return to Texas

June 19, 2009 1:33:05 PM PDT
A judge in Virginia has ordered indicted billionaire R. Allen Stanford to return to his home state of Texas. Magistrate Hannah Lauck agreed with prosecutors during a hearing Friday in Richmond, Va., that Stanford poses a flight risk and ordered a detention hearing. Stanford will remain in custody until that hearing can be held in Houston.

Prosecutors say Stanford's international banking empire was really just a Ponzi scheme built on lies and bribery to swindle investors out of $7 billion.

Stanford's lawyer, Christina Sarchio opposed the detention hearing. She says Stanford is not a flight risk and is essentially broke because the government has frozen his assets.

Steven Tyrrell of the Justice Department says more than $1 billion from Stanford's alleged scheme remains unaccounted for. Tyrrell says if anyone has access to it, it's Stanford.

--- Associated Press writer Zinie Chen Sampson contributed to this report.

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