Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 20:07 UK

Former Polaroid owner Tom Petters jailed for 50 years

Tom Petters
Mr Petters' Petters Worldwide Group once owned Polaroid

US businessman Tom Petters has been sentenced by a federal judge to 50 years in prison for his role in a $3.7bn (£2.4bn) fraud.

The 52-year-old former owner of Polaroid was found guilty on multiple counts of fraud and money-laundering last December.

The case involved a so-called Ponzi scheme, the same fraud that Bernard Madoff was convicted of.

Mr Madoff was jailed for 150 years last summer for his role in a $65bn scheme.

"This was a massive fraud," said US District Judge Richard Kyle.

"Tom Petters was at the front and centre of every stage. [He] was captain of the ship. [The fraud] would not have happened without his direction."

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment that pays out to existing investors money paid in by new investors, rather than real profits.

It is named after Charles Ponzi, who notoriously used the technique in the US in the 1920s.

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