ST. PAUL -- Today on our list of the top 10 stories of 2010 is number 4...the sentencing of St. Cloud native Tom Petters to prison.

Calling him the "Captain of the Ship", U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle handed down a 50 year prison sentence to Petters for his 3.65-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

In December 2009, a federal jury convicted Petters of orchestrating the scheme. The judge sentenced him on 20 counts including wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracies to commit further fraud.

Prosecutors argued for the statutory maximum of 335 years behind bars, but the defense asked for between 4 and 12 years in prison. The 50 year sentence essentially means it's life behind bars for Petters who was 52 years old when he was sentenced April 8th.

Petters apologized to family, friends and co-workers when he spoke at his sentencing and said he's filled with "pain and anguish" for the lives destroyed by the scheme. It's estimated there were as many as 500 victims who were affected by the scheme.

The case broke in December of 2008 when co-conspirator Deanna Coleman alerted the FBI and IRS of the fraud.

Check in tomorrow when we give you number 3 on our list of the Top 10 Stories of 2010.