Petters fraud case creates ripple effect


The Star Tribune was surprisingly quiet in the last couple weeks about the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme case. Now we know why. Today is the third day in their series on Petters and his business dealings. If you haven't been following the case, it's a good way to catch up. And the seriously obsessed will find some nuggets of details that add to the complexity of the alleged scam.

Whether or not Petters is guilty, the resulting tumble of the businesses and investments are already taking their toll on many people in the Twin Cities. This series makes that very clear.

Part 1: It all falls apart: Collapse of the Petters empire Who was this guy and how did all of this happen?

Petters' stunning reversal of fortune has everyone who believed in him, from religious charities to international hedge fund managers, scrambling to assess the damage and wondering how they could have been fooled for so long. Joel Alsaker, Petters' boss in the 1970s when he was selling stereo equipment in St. Cloud, has one answer.

"He was so talented -- you can't overstate that fact," Alsaker said. "He could talk your wallet right out of your pocket."

Part 2: Employees burned by scam This installment focuses on the employees who are suffering from the alleged $3 billion scam. Sun Country flight attendant Charles Kleinsteuber is dealing with the stress of a company in bankruptcy and lower pay for the rest of the year. The story leads with his wife fainting at home from the stress.

Part 3: Givers feel the hurt This piece looks at the non-profit organizations that had invested in the company and are now suffering from the fall out. Six charities had more than $27 million invested with Petters.