Born: Thomas J. Petters, July 11, 1957.
Hometown: St. Cloud, Minn.
Education: 1975 graduate of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.
1973: Starts Ear Electronics in St. Cloud in his junior year.
1980s: Works at Schaak Electronics in St. Cloud, then at electronics chain in Colorado.
1988: Starts Amicus Trading Group, which later becomes Petters Co. Inc.
1995: Opens Petters Warehouse Direct stores.
1997: Acquires eight World's Greatest Deals stores from Irwin Jacobs.
1998: Incorporates Redtagoutlet.com, an online consumer retail site. (Sells assets to Ted Deikel in 2000.)
1999: Forms RedtagBiz.com Inc., an Internet wholesaler, which becomes Redtag Inc. in 2000.
2000: Managers at Petters Warehouse Direct buy the company. (Petters reacquires it in 2005.)
2000: Petters and Deikel start BoomBuy, an Internet company. The store closes in 2003.
2002: Petters and Deikel buy Fingerhut. Petters becomes major investor in the firm.
2004: Petters' son, John T. Petters, is stabbed to death in Italy.
2005: Petters Group Worldwide buys Polaroid Holding Co.
2006: Petters Aviation buys 50 percent of Sun Country Airlines.
2008: Allegations of a massive fraud
Sept. 8: Deanna Coleman, vice president of operations for Petters Co. Inc., approaches government and alleges Petters has been running massive investor fraud scheme since about 1995.
Sept. 24: Federal investigators search Petters' home and businesses, along with those of associates.
Sept. 29: Petters resigns as chairman and chief executive of Petters Group Worldwide.
Oct. 1: Numerous lawsuits allege Petters bilked investors through loans supposedly secured by electronics merchandise.
Oct. 2: Petters and associate Larry Reynolds are charged with mail and wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice.
Oct. 3: Petters is arrested, jailed in Sherburne County.
Oct. 6: Coleman is charged with conspiracy.
Oct. 6: Minneapolis attorney Doug Kelley is appointed receiver to oversee Petters companies, excluding Sun Country Airlines, which filed for Chapter 11.
Oct. 8: Robert White, Michael Catain and Coleman enter guilty pleas in the Ponzi scheme. Petters, deemed a flight risk, is held in federal custody without bail.
Oct. 23: Reynolds pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy.
Dec. 1: Petters is indicted on 20 counts, including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, money laundering. He later pleads not guilty.
2009: Investigation and trial
Oct. 29: The trial begins.
Nov. 23: Closing arguments take place; jurors begin deliberations.
Dec. 2: Petters is found guilty on 20 counts of fraud and money laundering.
April 8, 2010: Petters is sentenced to 50 years in prison for orchestrating $3.65-3.7 billion Ponzi scheme.