Tearful Petters begs forgiveness, seeks lenience

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Convicted businessman Tom Petters has asked a judge for forgiveness, offering a tearful apology as he seeks to have 20 years cut off his 50-year prison sentence.

Petters was convicted in 2009 of running a $3.5 billion fraud scheme. On Wednesday the 56-year-old broke down into tears as he told Judge Richard Kyle he “made a horrible mess of things.”

He testified that he’d lied on the stand out of fear, and that he never wanted to go to trial. He says he would have accepted a 30-year plea deal but he was only told of the possible offer after he was sentenced.

His defense team has said Petters knew of the deal but rejected it.

Petters was convicted on 20 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

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