4th Petters defendant expected to plead guilty

Following in the footsteps of three other defendents in the Ponzi scheme investigation against Tom Petters and his associates, Larry Reynolds could be heading toward a plea bargain, according to the Star Tribune.

Reynolds had a connection to the alleged fraud as the middle man in Las Vegas where the money from investors would be wired. Reynolds has the same charges as Reynolds: mail and wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, but late Thursday, they recharged Reynolds in a "felony information" with a single count of money-laundering conspiracy.

More from the Star Tribune:

That process generally means a plea bargain will follow. Three other defendants in the alleged fraud scheme were charged that way before they entered guilty pleas and agreed to cooperate with the government.

Reynolds' attorney, Fred Bruno of Minneapolis, confirmed this week that plea discussions were taking place with the U.S. Attorney's office handling the case.

The maximum statutory penalty for money-laundering conspiracy is 20 years in prison, but Reynolds might be able to reduce the term by helping the prosecution. He also could be fined up to twice the loss amount, but that's rarely applied in cases such as this, where the government requires defendants to pay substantial restitution amounts.

Reynolds, 67, lives in Las Vegas and owned and operated Nationwide International Resources (NIR), a California corporation. Bruno said Reynolds has no criminal record. According to government documents, Reynolds helped Petters convince investors that he was buying and selling large lots of electronic merchandise with their money, when in fact there was no such merchandise.

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