MINNEAPOLIS — More than $22 million in forfeited funds will be distributed to investors who were unwitting victims of Tom Petters and his elaborate Ponzi scheme.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that 364 people across the globe who gave money to Petters will split the forfeited funds. Petters was convicted in December of 2009 of 20 criminal counts that included mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy connected to the $2.1 billion scheme.
Petters, a high-profile Wayzata businessman, was sentenced to 50 years in prison and his assets, along with a number of co-defendants, were forfeited to compensate victims. Added to a $16 million dollar distribution in 2018, the total amount of funds forfeited to victims of the scheme now stands at more than $38 million.
The recovered funds come from confiscated real estate, bank and investment accounts, vehicles and other assets.
Prosecutors say the ponzi scheme set up by Petters took investors’ money under the guise of buying retail inventory, but instead he used the money to pay off earlier investors and his friends and to fund a lavish lifestyle.