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In this Sept. 24, 2008, file photo, FBI agents haul boxes of unknown items from the Petters Group headquarters building in Minnetonka. (AP file photo: Star Tribune)
In this Sept. 24, 2008, file photo, FBI agents haul boxes of unknown items from the Petters Group headquarters building in Minnetonka. (AP file photo: Star Tribune)

Receivership closes; $722M recovered for Petters’ victims

The job of recovering money for the victims of Minnesota businessman Tom Petters’ Ponzi scheme has come to an end, as a federal judge has closed the receivership, which recovered $722 million.

Petters, of Wayzata, is serving a 50-year prison sentence for defrauding investors out of $1.9 billion. Receiver Doug Kelley and his team have spent more than a decade searching for and liquidating Petters’ assets to compensate as many victims and creditors as possible, the Star Tribune reported.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery closed the receivership Thursday, saying Petters ran one of the nation’s largest and “most complex” Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. In her order, she said: “The primary objective of the receivership was to preserve assets for victims and creditors … After more than 120 public court hearings and nearly 3,300 (case) docket entries, the work of the receiver has concluded.”

In October 2008, the U. S. Justice Department froze the assets of Petters, along with 150 business entities he created to hide his scheme. Several of Peters’ peers were convicted and also sentenced to prison for the fraud.

The vast business networks Petters created were so complex it took years to untangle. But eventually the assets — houses, other real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, and other property — were found, seized, auctioned or dispersed to compensate investors and other creditors, court records said.

Kelley said “I am done as the receiver on this case” but will continue his work as the bankruptcy trustee on Petters’ estate.

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