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Petters was found guilty on 20 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in 2009 for his role as ringleader in a decadelong Ponzi scheme that centered on the purchase and sale of nonexistent consumer electronic goods that he persuaded investors, including large hedge funds, to help finance.
In reality, returns paid to investors came from funds provided by new investors.
In total, there were convictions or guilty pleas by 13 individuals affiliated with the Ponzi scheme. All have been sentenced and the Petters motion for a reduced sentence was the last outstanding issue in the criminal case, which began in September 2008 when Petters lieutenant Deanna Coleman became a government whistleblower and informant.
Ted Sampsell-Jones, a criminal-law professor at the William Mitchell College of Law who has followed the Petters case from the onset, called Thursday’s ruling no surprise.
“This type of motion is hard to win because, in general, you don’t get to go back and ask for a plea bargain after you lose at trial,” Jones said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “Only in cases of some serious injustice will courts grant a motion like this, and Petters was not even close to meeting that standard.”
David Phelps • 612-673-7269