Thursday, December 3, 2009
Update: Petters Found Guilty On All Counts in $3.65 Million Ponzi Scheme Case
Former Minnesota businessman Thomas "Tom" J. Petters, 52, of Wayzata, Minnesota, was found guilty yesterday by a federal jury on all 20 felony counts that he ran a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme defrauding investors since the mid-1990's. The 20 guilty counts included wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Petters was originally arrested in October 2008 and formally indicted in December - a year ago. The guilty verdicts followed a 17 day trial in federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The fraud and conspiracy case involved Minnetonka-based Petters Group Worldwide, his primary holding company, and Petters Company Inc., the investment arm of the group. Several other executives of the company, including Deanna Coleman, Robert White, Michael Catain and Larry Reynolds, who have all previously pleaded guilty in the case. Coleman was reportedly the primary whistle blower in the case which involved a scheme to solicit cash from hedge funds, money managers and other investors to buy consumer electronics for resale to retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club. The big returns never materialized as promised as no significant transactions ever occurred.