The Coastal Star

Manalapan: Ponzi schemer gets 50-year sentence

By Mary Kate Leming

Former part-time Manalapan resident Tom Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison by a federal court in Minneapolis in early April. The sentence mandates that the least time he could spend
behind bars, with credit for good behavior, would be 41 years.

Petters was convicted in December of masterminding a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme. He was found guilty on 20 criminal counts, including wire fraud, mail fraud and money

According to the government, Petters attracted massive investments from hedge funds and other institutions, ostensibly to buy consumer electronic goods and resell them
to national big-box stores like Walmart and Costco. But there was actually
little or no merchandise and the operation consisted mostly of faking documents
and keeping the cash.

Petters spoke in court during the sentencing and apologized to family, friends and co-workers, “I truly grieve for the victims. Every day I am filled with pain
and anguish for what has happened.”

After the sentencing, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones told the media, “Tom Petters is a fraud, and now he will pay a huge price for his self-enrichment and his

On April 13, Petters’ attorney filed a formal notice of appeal for both the conviction and sentence. He also
asked that Petters be declared destitute since his personal and corporate
assets have been under the control of a court-appointed receiver for the past
18 months.

Last July, a court-appointed receiver sold Petters’ Manalapan home for $9.5 million as part of efforts to recoup funds for investors.

Information from the Minneapolis Star Tribune contributed to this report.

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