Tom Petters, the former owner of Polaroid, is facing 30 years in jail after being found guilty of money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud. He was also found guilty of conning several leading consumer electronics companies as well as retail chains.Petters, who struggled to turn Polaroid around from being a dominant instant image company prior to the digital camera boom to being a key player in the fast growing digital camera market, was found guilty on all 20 charges that he operated a Ponzi scheme.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Petters faces 30 years to life and will be sentenced early next year.
The Ponzi scheme, which totalled $3.65 billion, partly involved conning investors into paying money for consumer electronics products that would be resold to major retailers. No such purchases were ever made. Petters claimed during the trial that he was unaware of the fraud until late in the game, but several of his co-conspirators testified otherwise.
The 52-year-old Petters founded a a mail-order stereo company called Ear Electronics while in high school, and later ran a small chain of electronics stores in Colorado and Kansas. His company, Petters Group Worldwide, purchased Polaroid in 2005.