Bankruptcy judge rules Tom Petters clawbacks can go back as far as 1995


A U.S. Bankruptcy judge ruled this week that clawback activities in Tom Petters' corporate bankruptcy case to recover "false profits" can now date back to 1995, the Star Tribune reports.

The ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Kishel goes back much further than the six-year statute of limitations.

Kishel's ruling says the trustee in the case can go back up to 13 years from 2008 filing to the former Twin Cities businessman's Ponzi scheme. Federal authorities allege the Ponzi scheme began in 1995 and ran until they shut it down in 2008.

According to the Star Tribune, that means the trustee Doug Kelley can attempt to collect up to $60 million in purported "fraudulent transfers" between Petters and investors beyond the six-year statute of limitations.

The paper said Petters raised money in his $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme by getting investors to finance the purchase and sale of non-existent consumer electronic goods, and paid off old investors with the new investors' money.

To date, Kelly has collected $310 million for the bankruptcy estate, including clawbacks.

The ruling comes on the heels of the conviction of former Petters associate James Fry.

Fry, 59, was the last Petters associate to be tried in the Ponzi scheme.

He was convicted on all 12 counts of wire and securities fraud and for making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission about his role as an investment manager for Petters.

Petters, 55, is currently serving a 50-year sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.

Last month, an attorney for Petters filed a motion in federal court to get the sentence thrown out, claiming "ineffective assistance of counsel."

In his filing, Steven Meshbesher, maintained Petters’ old counsel, Jon Hopeman, "provided constitutionally deficient counsel when he failed to communicate a plea offer to Defendant Petters prior to trial."

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