Tom Petters finally admits guilt, tells judge: "I'm begging for your forgiveness"

Tom Petters finally admits guilt, tells judge: "I'm begging for your forgiveness"

Five years after he was convicted of masterminding a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, Tom Petters was back in court in St. Paul today trying to get his sentence reduced by 20 years.

RELATED: Tom Petters, convicted Ponzi schemer, teaches fellow inmates business classes

Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but now claims his defense team didn't inform him about a federal plea offer of a 30-year sentence until after he was convicted.

According to a Star Tribune report, in a legal brief, Petters' attorney, Steve Meshbesher, writes, "After the verdict was read and entered, [Petters] was visited by [defense attorney Jon] Hopeman in the holding cell at which time Mr. Hopeman stated, 'Well, we had to go to trial [because] we could only get you a 30-year minimum deal'... [Petters] affirms that prior to that he had never been informed of the government's offer."

But the attorney representing Hopeman and other members of Petters' defense team told the Strib, "The motion is laughable that these incredibly accomplished attorneys would do what is alleged with this [allegation] coming from the most accomplished fraudster in Minnesota history."

In a separate court filing, Hopeman himself wrote, "For most of the time I represented Mr. Petters, he had little or no interest in pleading guilty to any crime... Mr. Petters said he had no interest in a deal that would require him to serve so much time."

During today's hearing, Petters admitted guilt for the first time and begged a federal judge to show him mercy. Tom Hauser live tweeted from the courtroom:

We'll update this post after the judge's ruling is issued.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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