Judge rules Petters must stay in jail

Tom Petters
Tom Petters' booking photo from the Sherburne County Jail.
Photo courtesy of Sherburne County Sheriff

A federal judge in St. Paul ruled today that Wayzata businessman Tom Petters should remain in jail until his trial on fraud charges.

Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis affirmed a previous court ruling that Petters should not be released on bail. He's been held in the Stearns County jail since his arrest on Oct. 3.

In the previous order, another judge determined Petters may attempt to flee the country to avoid trail for allegedly leading a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme.

An FBI agent testified in today's hearing about several conversations Petters allegedly had about leaving the country to escape prosecution. Petters' attorney argued his client could be tracked with a GPS device attached to his ankle.

But a federal prosecutor said the GPS system can be thwarted, giving Petters a head start on an escape. The prosecution said Petters would have good reason to flee because he faces a possible life term in prison if convicted.

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