The late Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, loved vintage World War II aircraft. Such American treasures seem to find their way to honorable men and women caretakers who would preserve and protect the secrets, stories, heroic acts, and legacies inseparably connected with those objects and symbols of American liberty.
Mr. Allen was one of the wealthiest men on earth. His reputation was as precious as his financial holdings. He, therefore, could not afford to work with just anyone. Those people with whom he worked must, by necessity, embody the highest honor, integrity, and trustworthiness.
One of Mr. Allen’s closest advisers was Kurt Peterson. Mr. Peterson, a successful businessman, a professional investor and adviser to such individuals as Mr. Allen, was instrumental in the building phase of the beloved National Museum of World War II Aviation, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a curator and board member, Mr. Peterson interacted with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of honest men and women seeking to preserve America’s treasures.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation holds in its trust over one dozen airworthy aircraft, American treasures, many with actual war-mission flight hours. Included in the museum’s aircraft are a F3A Corsair “Brewster,” two North American B-25’s, a Grumman F6F Hellcat, a Republic P47D-40 Thunderbolt, a Lockheed P-38F Lightening. The museum also includes WWII restoration projects, memorabilia, and other artifacts.
Colorado Springs WWII museum gets national recognition
The museum, which Mr. Peterson embraced and helped build, was the vision and brainchild of Dr. James N. Fry, a former dental surgeon turned entrepreneur and investor from Minneapolis, Minnesota. But for Dr. Fry, the museum would not exist. An aircraft-legacy museum was an exciting addition to the Colorado Spring’s aviation history and culture. Nestled between Peterson Air force Base and the local commuter airport, the museum inspired the entire region. Dr. Fry’s vision conveyed to Mr. Peterson, and from Peterson to community business leaders, eventually gained the support of Colorado lawmakers, Doug Lamborn, Michael Bennet, and Cory Gardner.
A Strange and Sad Twist
This otherwise patriotic and inspiring story brought to life by Dr. Fry takes a strange and sad twist along the way.
For Dr. Fry, the decade leading up to the museum’s 2019 walk-through by members of U.S. Congress was not one of happiness and satisfaction for having played such a significant role in its existence, but one of personal crisis, false accusation, and incomprehensible tragedy.
After retiring from his dental surgery practice, Dr. Fry became a professional investor and fund manager. There is nothing remarkable about this transition. It is common for medical care professionals to transition to other interests after a successful career.
Sadly, Dr. Fry, like 15,000 other unsuspecting businessmen and women, became the unjust targets of the Obama Administration’s fraudulent and corrupt Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, or “FFETF.” If Mr. Obama has a legacy, it is the unspeakable actions of this task force and the Department of Justice under him.
The FFETF was created by President Obama via executive order #13519 in November 2009.
The pretext for the FFETF’s creation, according to the executive order, was:
“to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes and other violations relating to the…financial crisis Great Recession of 2008 and economic recovery efforts…”
“But that is not what happened,” says the Coalition to Nullify the Corrupt Task Force Facebook page.
Rather, a massive “recreational prosecution,” happened; prosecutors gone wild for lack of a better term, savagely destroyed American small business owners, especially those in the financial, real estate, and insurance fields.
The Coalition page details what the FFETF did under the pretense of justice: destroying families, businesses, legitimate investment capital, and reputations – all unnecessarily.
An Unfathomable Tragedy at the Hand of Thomas J. Petters
Thomas J. Petters is a conman, a fraudster of the highest order. Currently, he is serving 50 years in Leavenworth for a meticulously executed a ponzi scheme fraud upon some of the largest and most established financial institutions and wealthy families in the world.
The United States Department of Justice rightly prosecuted the guilty Petters.
Those deceived by Petters included Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America, Barclays Bank, and sadly, Dr. Fry’s much smaller company, Arrowhead Capital Management.
Not one of those financial giants detected Petters’ fraud.
Neither did Dr. Fry. But that doesn’t make him a criminal. Not even close. Yet, in a shameful and tragic distortion, the Obama Administration’s Justice Department confused the jury into believing Fry was guilty of securities fraud for having not detected it.
“The government essentially picked on a little guy; a victim himself, and made him a scapegoat while the ‘big guys’ with the resources to actually detect such a well executed fraud walked away unscathed,” said the wife of another FFETF victim who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. “That is the putrid legacy of the Obama Administration’s Justice Department,” she continued.
A Victim Once, a Victim Twice
One of the great shames of the American justice system is the unchecked conviction-lust that follows a “big kill.” The Petters case caused a bloodsport-like accusation and prosecution frenzy. Once the Department of Justice had the taste of proverbial blood, it could not stop.
As the Department of Justice’s conviction-machine’s gears turned, “smaller fish” caught in the Petters wake were ground to pieces by the newly established FFETF propeller. Tragically, most of the “smaller fish” were innocent collateral damage…like Dr. Fry.
The larger firms, such as Bank of America and Royal Bank of Scotland were too big for the FFETF to prosecute, so each was given a civil fine “slap on the wrist.” Big firms have “unlimited” resources to fight back and win. These days, prosecutors only objective is to win regardless of innocence or guilt. Ignore the big guys who may (or may not) be guilty but are able to defend themselves, and instead, target the little guys who are most likely innocent but are “easy pickin’s.” In other words, small targets with limited resources are easy to convict. Juries do not understand the complexities of such matters, and lean towards believing the accuser, not the accused, which is fundamentally and constitutionally backward. It is precisely this reprehensible game that the Obama Administration’s FFETF played from 2009 through January 2017.
“Prosecutors weave a ‘plausible’ tale, making it sound as though premeditated intent to defraud investors was the attitude of the day back then, merely because some innocent fund managers, like Fry, invested in Petters. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Hundreds of firms invested in Petters. The big ones walked. The small ones sit in prison as scapegoats. Yet none of the investors was guilty of anything. It was all Petters,” said Joe Simnovec, founder of the Wrongful Conviction Support Group.
Dr. Fry lost everything because of Petters, his life’s work, his reputation, his personal assets, and his liberty.
He was one of Petters’ victims in the first instance, and a victim of the government in the second. Regrettably, in the end, Fry’s investors lost, not because of Fry, but because of what was done to him.
Source: Fry Family Archives
Dr. James Fry – An Innocent Man
Court records state explicitly, “Jim Fry did not participate in or even know about the Petters ponzi scheme.” Yet he was ensnared, like thousands of others, in the gross overreach of that Obama-era executive order.
Most of the victims of the corrupt FFETF, like Dr. Fry, remain in prison today. Most received sentences comparable, or greater, to murderers and rapists.
Dr. Fry’s unconscionable sentence was 17.5 years
To illustrate the tragedy, had Dr. Fry actually committed what he was accused of doing, he could have stolen millions of dollars, pled guilty, and been out in 4-5 years, with plenty of time to enjoy his stolen spoils. It is what happens in American courts each and every year. Real criminals know how to play the system and receive a slap on the wrist. Innocent victims go to trial, in good faith, believing the system works, and find out the harsh reality. The target, and the target’s family watch in horror as the judge helps the prosecution corral the target into prison instead of protecting the innocent.
“If you exercise your right to trial, you are going to be treated like a murderer whether you are guilty or not. If the government says he/she is guilty, he/she must be,” is the naive and tragic thinking of the average American.
Meanwhile, most FFETF victims remain hopelessly incarcerated, with society’s collective blind eye turned away in shame, and silence, letting it happen.
A medical practitioner, a philanthropist, husband, father, honorable man; a life destroyed unnecessarily.
Kurt Peterson summed up Dr. Fry in a letter to Fry’s sentencing judge:
“My opinion of Jim has not changed from the day I met him and I strongly believe his personal character is one with the upmost (sic) integrity based on his actions and caring for others which never leaves his side no matter what the situation may be…I believe [Fry’s] true character [to be] one of integrity, trustworthiness and true kindness.”
Yet falsely accused, convicted, incarcerated, demonized and in prison without an ear to listen or a heart to care.
The frightenly powerful American criminal “justice” system is also its greatest shame.