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Press Release

Federal Judge Approves Final Distribution Of Payments To Victims Of Frank Vennes Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota
Frank Vennes was a co-conspirator in the multi-billion dollar Petters Ponzi scheme

Yesterday in federal court, United States District Judge Ann D. Montgomery issued an order approving a final distribution of payments to victims of FRANK E. VENNES, JR., and dissolving the Liquidating Trusteeship established to administer the Asset Distribution Plan.


“Although nothing can erase entirely the years of financial hardship and emotional stress caused by this massive fraud scheme, we hope that through the Liquidating Trustee’s administration of the Asset Distribution Plan victims have experienced some measure of relief and closure,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker.


Gary Hansen, the Liquidating Trustee, noted the many complexities in liquidating the VENNES assets, which included multiple business entities; office buildings, apartment buildings, and other real estate; an extensive art and rare coin collection; and many other assets spread across the country. “This has been a long and challenging process. We appreciate Judge Montgomery’s practical and flexible approach, which permitted us to resolve issues creatively and without substantial litigation or undue administrative expense. Many of those who placed their trust in Frank Vennes lost much or all of their life savings. We have not been able to make them whole, but have worked hard to provide the maximum possible recovery from the available assets,” said Hansen.


On October 18, 2013, VENNES was sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraudulently raising money from individuals and through hedge funds for investment in Petters Company, Inc. (“PCI”). VENNES was a long-time associate of Thomas J. Petters, the Minnesota businessman who was convicted in 2009 of orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. In January 2011, the Court issued an order approving an Asset Distribution Plan that provided for the distribution of cash or assets to the victims and creditors of the Vennes Defendants1, in connection to the Petters Ponzi scheme. After the final distribution, the total value of assets and cash distributed to victims and creditors through the Liquidating Trustee will total approximately $20 million.


This case was handled by the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.


The case is captioned United States of America v. Frank E. Vennes, Jr., et al. Case No. 8-cv-5348 (ADM/TNL).





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600



1The Vennes Defendants are: Frank E. Vennes, Jr.; Metro Gem Finance; Metro Gem, Inc.; Grace Offerings of Florida, LLC; Metro Property Financing, LLC; 38 E. Robinson, LLC; 55 E. Pine, LLC; Orlando Rental Pool, LLC; 100 Pine Street Property, LLC; Orange Street Tower, LLC; Cornerstone Rental Pool, LLC; 2 South Orange Avenue, LLC; Mandan Properties, LLC; Century Apartments, LLC; Youngstown Holdings, LLC; Metro Development Properties, LLC; Grace Offerings of St. Paul, LLC; Project Riverwatch, LLC; Friends of Hope Academy, LLC; Plando, LLC; Art Group, LLC; and Metro Gold, LLC.

Updated December 20, 2017