Italian-born Charles Ponzi was a swindler in the early 1900s and from whom the phrase “Phonzi Scheme” originated (Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

The lawyers representing financier R. Allen Stanford are asserting that their client is not mentally competent to stand trial for running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme that he is accused of running.

As The New York Times reports, Stanford’s lawyers are claiming that between an addiction to anti-anxiety medicine and brain injuries Stanford suffered from a fight with a fellow inmate in 2009 their client is not fit to stand trial. Stanford has also argued that he has retrograde amnesia, a condition that he claims will prevent him from recalling events from his life before the altercation.

But a prison psychologist who evaluated Stanford said it is “incredibly” unlikely that he developed such a condition, and prosecutors are claiming that he is faking the memory loss.

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at

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