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The alleged $3 billion Ponzi scheme involving Tom Petters has never gotten the attention it deserved.
Some of that is because the case broke open right around the time Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy. And given that the scandal took place in Minnesota and involved mainly midwestern hedge funds funneling money to Petters operation, it didn’t galvanize the attention of the East Coast media.
But Petters continues to make headlines–albeit small ones–even as Bernie Madoff and Marc Dreier go away for lengthy prison sentences.
Most notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission last week filed civil charges against Greg Bell, the former manager of Chicago-based hedge fund Lancelot Management, which invested $2 billion in Petters’ operation. Regulators allege that Bell “pocketed millions of dollars in fraudulent fees at the expense of investors in the funds.”
Federal prosecutors are sort of boxing themselves in when it comes to sentencing requests for big Ponzimeisters.
Bernie Madoff, the king of Ponzis, got 150 years. And now federal prosecutors in NY are seeking an almost equally as punitive 145-year sentence for Marc Dreier, the mastermind of a much, muchÂ smaller Ponzi that fleeced some hedge funds out of some $400 million.