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Offer to Petters lawyer sends man to prison

  • December 24, 2008 - 8:26 PM

The man accused of trying to swindle Tom Petters' defense attorney out of $250,000 received a sentence Wednesday of nearly three years in prison.

Before sentencing, Derrick Riddle simply said to the judge, "Give me what you got."

Hennepin County District Court Judge Mark Wernick sentenced him to 34 months with credit for two months served since his arrest in October.

Riddle, who acted as his own attorney at trial, was convicted last week by a jury that deliberated about one hour.

Riddle initially contacted lawyer Jon Hopeman, saying he could help influence a judge in Petters' favor in exchange for $250,000. Hopeman then contacted the U.S. Attorney, and the FBI set up video in his office.

The jury saw FBI video of Riddle talking to Hopeman, trying to persuade him to drop $250,000 in cash at his home.

Petters, once a high-flying Twin Cities businessman, is in federal prison awaiting trial on multiple fraud charges alleging that he ran a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme for more than a decade.

ROCHELLE OLSON

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