A look at the players then and now.
Tom Petters: The ultimate salesman who could “sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady wearing white gloves,” according to former employees. Sentenced to 50 years in prison on charges of money laundering, fraud and conspiracy. Currently at the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan. Release date is April 25, 2052.*
Deanna Coleman: Petters’ confidant, one-time lover and right-hand assistant who blew the whistle to authorities and wore a hidden tape recorder just prior to the scheme’s collapse. Sentenced to 366 days in prison on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Sent to a federal prison camp in Pekin, Ill. Released Aug. 26, 2011. Currently living in North Central Minnesota. Coleman provided government testimony in the criminal trials of Petters and hedge fund manager James Fry. She otherwise has avoided the spotlight and has declined interview requests.
Larry Reynolds: A Los Angeles businessman who led a double life in the federal witness protection program after he testified for the government against the New England mob earlier in his career. Sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Currently at in the federal prison at Terminal Island, Calif. Release date is Dec. 17, 2019.
Robert White: The document forger on whose office door Petters would sometime bang and yell “FBI!” just as a joke. Sentenced to 5 years in prison on one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. Currently at the federal prison camp in Yankton, S.D. Release date is April 8, 2014.
Michael Catain: Ran a money laundering operation out of an office of his car wash in downtown Excelsior. Testified that he sent messages to Petters about a bountiful “cabbage crop” to signal the availability of cash. Sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Currently at the federal prison camp in Duluth. Release date is March 31, 2017.
James Wehmhoff: Tax accountant for Petters and Petters Group Worldwide. Told a packed courtroom at his guilty plea hearing that he “lost his way” when he joined the Petters operation. Sentenced to one year of home detention on one count of conspiracy to commit tax evasion and one count of aiding and assisting tax fraud.
Gregory Bell: Chicago hedge fund manager who helped prop Petters up in the final days and then tried to hide personal assets in an offshore account once the scam was over. Sentenced to six years in prison on one count of wire fraud. Currently assigned to the federal Community Corrections Office in Chicago. Release date is Jan. 5, 2014.
James Fry: Mound hedge fund manager. Claimed he had no knowledge of the fraud but kept providing investor funds to Petters up until the very end. Collected $30 million in fees and commissions for his transactions. Found guilty on five counts of securities fraud, four counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yet to be sentenced.
Frank Vennes, Jr.: Petters’ fundraiser and middleman between Petters and Fry. Vennes often used his prison conversion to Christianity to entice investors. Pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. Yet to be sentenced.
*Release dates do not account for potential time off for good behavior.
U.S. Attorney: B. Todd Jones: sworn in Aug. 29 as the first permanent director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in seven years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Dixon III: now in private practice as deputy general counsel for investigations at UnitedHealth Group.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marti: currently serving as acting U.S. Attorney until nominee Andy Luger is confirmed and sworn in.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Rank: chief of the office’s white collar section.
Jon Hopeman: continues to practice law in the white collar defense area at Felhaber Larson Fenlon & Vogt and to teach part-time at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Paul Engh: returned to his criminal practice handling white collar crimes and major crimes of violence.
Eric Riensche: legal consultant to the Hazelden Foundation.
Many still await restitution which will likely to be a fraction of their losses. Victims who invested with Petters through Vennes have received about $8 million while creditors of Vennes claiming security interests obtained payments and assets valued at $6.6 million, according to receiver Gary Hansen. The Court-appointed receiver and bankruptcy trustee in the Petters case, Doug Kelley, has delivered $9.2 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for eventual distribution to investors and has obtained nearly $300 million in settlements and asset sales in the corporate bankruptcy but that case is far from settled with a spate of clawback lawsuits to recover “phantom profits” from investors remain unresolved.