ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Defense attorneys are asking for mercy at the sentencing for Minnesota businessman Tom Petters, saying he's suffering from a tumor on his pituitary gland.
In a court filing Monday, they say it's not growing but his long-term prognosis is bleak, with the risk of blindness and paralysis.
They call the tumor a "pituitary adenoma." Medical references say they're ordinarily benign, but can put pressure on the gland and damage nearby brain tissue, such as the nerves leading to the eyes.
In a separate filing Monday, prosecutors asked for a life sentence for Petters, who was convicted of orchestrating a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme.
In the filing, prosecutors say the fraud was "staggering and unprecedented in size and impact." They say it's the largest fraud case ever in Minnesota, and that there are "only a handful of fraud schemes that are even comparable in the history of the United States."
They say the 52-year-old Petters "has earned for himself a life sentence." But since federal law requires a sentence in years, they're formally asking for the maximum on all 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. That adds up to 335 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle has scheduled sentencing for April 8.
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