Tom Petters sentencing wrap-up video

Illustrator Ken Avidor, who covered the trial of Tom Petters for City Pages, sends this final video and the following account:

Four months after Tom Petters was convicted for perpetrating the biggest fraud in Minnesota history, he stood before Judge Richard Kyle to find out if he was going to get the 335 year sentence the prosecutors requested or the four year sentence suggested by his lawyers or something in between.

The ex-CEO of Petters Group Worldwide that once owned Polaroid and Sun Country airlines wore a business suit and listened as his lawyer, Paul Enge challenged the sentencing guidelines. Enge said he thought the guidelines were "irrational" and wouldn't deter anyone from committing a similar white collar crime. Enge also said it was unfair that murderers got less time than Tom Petters. Enge said Petters was generous, that low-level workers like janitors liked Petters. He also mentioned that Petters was cooperating with the receiver Doug Kelly.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dixon told the judge the sentence should be based on Tom Petters, the crimes he committed and the harm he did to his victims. Dixon also said Petters did not cooperate until he was convicted and it was easy to be generous with other people's money.

Tom Petters got up and apologized to his family and said everyday his life was filled with pain. He thanked the receiver Doug Kelly and said the murder of his son was the worst thing that happened to him.

The judge said he was not passing a moral judgement on Petters and gave him 50 years with 41 months off for time served and what they used to call "good behavior". The judge also said Petters's trial testimony was "unbelievable".

After the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Todd B. Jones told reporters he hoped the severe sentence would help safeguard Minnesota's economy from similar scams.

The Bureau of Prisons will determine where Tom Petter goes after this.


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