Frank Vennes Pleads Guilty, Vows To Cooperate With Authorities
Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 24, 2013
While I was distracted, Frank Vennes decided to cut short the fun planned for his trial set to start on February 5 by pleading guilty four days before the start date. Here’s part of the Minnesota DoJ’s press release, courtesy of Ken Avidor:
MINNEAPOLIS—Late this afternoon in federal court in St. Paul, a business associate of Thomas J. Petters, the Minnesota businessman convicted in 2009 of orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, pleaded guilty to fraudulently raising money from individuals and through hedge funds for investment in Petters Company, Inc. (“PCI”). Frank Elroy Vennes, Jr., age 55, of Stuart, Florida, was charged on July 11, 2011, in a Second Superseding Indictment. Appearing today before United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle, he specifically pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering.
From 1995 through September of 2008, Vennes and his company, Metro Gem, obtained money from others for investment in PCI notes. He also assisted in the formation of hedge funds, known as the Arrowhead Funds, to help raise additional investment funds for that same purpose. Beginning in 2001 and proceeding through September 24, 2008, he knew that individuals associated with the Arrowhead Funds were making misrepresentations and omissions to investors regarding investments in PCI, and he aided and abetted in those misrepresentations.
Vennes likely was flipped in order to nail James Nathan Fry, his co-defendant, whose own trial started on February 5. And guess what? Fry’s attorney, well-known Twin Cities trial lawyer Joe Friedberg, would very much like to get Vennes on the witness stand
Friedberg rejected the Government’s contention that their witnesses could supply the necesary testimony regarding the specific charges against Fry saying such testimony was hearsay and that only Vennes had “a monopoly of knowledge”.
In particular, Friedberg pointed to the Government’s evidence regarding how Fry and Vennes allegedly used Vennes’s quest for a presidential pardon to lull potential investors concerns. Friedberg said:
“Vennes told my client Michele Bachmann supported his pardon to the White House”
Friedberg’s referring to the 2007 push to get George W. Bush to pardon Vennes.
Things will soon get interesting again for Vennes, Fry and Bachmann — and the best place to watch the action is at Vennes Info.