Petters stuck in jail, others pleading guilty as his future crumbles

Millionaire and former CEO Tom Petters won't be getting a taste of freedom anytime soon. The judge today ruled that Petters is too much of a flight risk and ordered him jailed as the prosecution continues to gather evidence.

According to the Star Tribune report:

With Petters attending the hearing in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Judge Jeffrey Keyes said, "There are no conditions or set of conditions that can reasonably assure his appearance at trial."

Keyes said he made his decision based on a taped conversation between Petters and Robert White, a business associate also implicated in the case. In that conversation, Keyes said, Petters urged White to flee from possible prosecution.

"It's clear Petters has his own idea about pulling off a similar plan for himself," Keyes said.

The rest of the suspects are falling into guilty pleas as the case against Petters builds. Deanna Coleman, the whistle blower in the case and former vice president of operations at Petters Co. Inc pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiracy to commit fraud, and faces as much as five years in prison.

White, of Excelsior, also pleaded guilty today in federal court in St. Paul. White was charged with mail fraud and illegal monetary transactions.

According to the Star Tribune:

Prosecutors accused White of creating a paper trail on phony retail transactions that people were then asked to invest in. The alleged fraud involved a unit of Petters Group Worldwide.

White could face nearly 22 years in prison. He has agreed to cooperate in the case against Petters, who has denied wrongdoing.

We are expecting one more person in the case to plead guilty today, so we will update as information is released.

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