By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seven years after the nation’s third largest Ponzi scheme crumbled, victims in the Tom Petters case are about to get some money back.

A plan is in place to distribute $172 million to victims. Former Federal Prosecutor Doug Kelley says coming up with the plan took years because Petters was involved in more than 100 companies.

“When I first inherited this there were seven hundred and fifty employees at Sun Country Airlines and I was happy to save Sun Country and save those jobs,” he said. “There were fifteen hundred at Polaroid.”

Britt Moore, from Eagan, was one of them. He says he was owed around $8,000 in severance and vacation pay from Polaroid.

“It’s nice to have some closure to it,” Moore said. “Beside the money it’s nice to see something finally happening.”

But the first payments for investors could be a fraction of what was lost — 10 to 14 percent according to Kelley.

The payouts will start within the next ten days. Kelley says there is still $158 million that has or is being distributed. Still, it’s a far cry from the $1.9 billion lost in the historic scheme.

“Certainly the biggest in dollar amount in the state of Minnesota,” Kelley said. “It’s been quite a ride.”

There are also more than 100 lawsuits pending against certain investors that will ultimately bring in additional cash. Petters is currently serving a 50 year prison sentence.

Kate Raddatz