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Associated Press, Published October 18 2013

Petters' Ponzi scheme associate gets 15 years in prison

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A former associate of convicted Minnesota businessman Tom Petters has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for lying to investors about a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle on Friday sentenced Vennes to the full amount called for in Vennes’ plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/H1YlEZ ) reports attorneys for Vennes had sought a lesser sentence.

Vennes pleaded guilty in February to charges of securities fraud and money laundering.

For more than a decade, Vennes acted as a financial conduit between Petters and hedge funds in the Twin Cities and Florida. Vennes collected commissions exceeding $100 million for his efforts in raising money for Petters.

Petters was convicted in 2009 of orchestrating the Ponzi scheme and is serving a 50-year prison sentence.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com