Petters Accountant: 1 Yr. Home Detention, No Prison
James Wehmhoff, the former accountant of Petters Group Worldwide and its founder Tom Petters, was sentenced Monday in St. Paul to one year of home detention, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle handed down a sentence of three years of probation, which includes the year of home detention. After the detention, Wehmhoff will be required to perform 300 hours of community service. In the future, he will not be able to work at a job that includes fiduciary responsibilities unless his probation officer okays it.
Wehmhoff, 69, pleaded guilty in December 2008 to two counts of tax fraud unrelated to Petters' $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. At the time that he entered his guilty pleas, he admitted that he withheld taxable income and helped Petters associates to cheat on taxes.
According to federal sentencing guidelines, Wehmhoff faced up to seven years and three months in prison. Wehmhoff is the seventh and final co-defendant to be sentenced for crimes stemming from the discovery of Petters' fraud scheme and the only one who received no prison time.
Six other Petters co-defendants-Deanna Coleman, Michael Catain, Larry Reynolds, Robert White, Gregory Bell, and Harold Alan Katz-have been sentenced within the past few months.
Former Wayzata businessman Tom Petters was found guilty in December of 20 felony counts relating to fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, for orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme that spanned a decade. Petters, who maintains his innocence, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in April. His attorney filed a formal notice of appeal later that month.
Six other Petters co-defendants-Deanna Coleman, Michael Catain, Larry Reynolds, Robert White, Gregory Bell, and Harold Alan Katz -have been sentenced within the past few months.