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‘Swashbuckling Industrialist’ Tom Petters Is Going to be Responsible for Putting Senior Citizens on the Street

petters_plane.jpgFor those of you that were maybe developing a soft spot for Tom Petters because, among other things, his own lawyer doesn’t think too much of him, the latest testimony in TP’s trial should help squash your sympathy.
Janet Leck, a 79 year old widow, was convinced by Frank Vennes, Jr. — an evangelist who “steered unwitting investors to [Petters]” — to invest her money with Tom Petters. At one point Vennes, apparently having reconnected with the Almighty, told Leck that he was ending his business relationship with TP because of ‘things he was seeing in Mr. Petters’ personal life’ and was returning her money.
Now, one could assume that Vennes was getting the creeps from Petters because either: 1) he realized that Petters was a complete man-child that couldn’t finish a copy of Go Dog Go! or 2) typical hooker/llelo chicanery.

Two years after dumping Petters for his sinful ways, Vennes decided redemption was in order (or, most likely, he just missed the hookers) because he went back to TP and got the Lecks to invest with him again:

She re-mortgaged her home and drew out $190,000 in equity to invest with Petters, she said. Leck said she relied on the $3,400 monthly payments from that loan for living expenses until September 2008, when authorities raided Petters’ home and business looking for evidence that he was running an alleged $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme.
Now, unless she can restructure her mortgage, Leck said, “I’m looking at foreclosure. …I will move from my home of 30 years.”

In other overwhelmingly convincing testimony, investment banker Michael Liss described Petters, “as a ‘swashbuckling industrialist’ who had an arsenal of ‘ridiculous’ excuses for not paying his debts on time.”
Ridiculous excuses like, “Do you treat your other swashbuckling industrialist clients this way?” or “I’m busy ripping off senior citizens. Do you mind?” OR “My ass is going to end up in dumpster any second, sorta busy.”
Petters trial: Retired widow fears losing her home [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]