Frank S. is not Frank E.
ASPEN Frank S. Peters is very glad right now that he is not Frank E. Peters, because it means he is not heading to jail.The similarity in names has long been a minor problem for Frank S. Peters, locally known as a former City Council member, musician, hotel owner, husband to Marjory, and father of Franko and Laura.And now comes the news that Frank E. Peters, who reportedly has been living in Palm Desert, Calif., and Aspen, was convicted this week on six felony counts of fraud and other financial crimes involving a defunct business in Buffalo, N.Y.Frank E. Peters, 59, now faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, according to a report in the Buffalo News. He reportedly was convicted of lying to officials at Chase Manhattan Bank about the finances of his business, World Auto Parts, based in Buffalo during the late 1990s and 2000.According to the report, Peters, who is licensed to practice law in Illinois, had maintained a $10.5 million line of credit with the bank. He was convicted in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on July 30, after an 11-week jury trial, of conspiracy, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud and inflating security values to a bank.Frank S. Peters, who is “about the same age” as Frank E. Peters, said he has been having trouble since the late 1970s because the similarity in names.It first started when he was living in the old mining town of Lenado, at the head of the Woody Creek valley, and working as a builder, with his business account at First National Bank.”I got a call from the bank saying, ‘Mr. Peters, you are $100,000 overdrawn,” Frank S. Peters said Thursday. “I about shit my pants.”He dashed down to the bank, he said, thinking, “Oh, God, what have I done? Did I forget something, what?” He said he had been running about $30,000 a month through the account for his building business, and worried a deposit had gone awry or some similar mishap.But when he got to the bank, he discovered to his joy, “They were talking about Frank E. Peters, not me!”Since that startling revelation, Frank S. Peters has gotten phone calls from various parties looking for the other man, including credit card companies and partners in golf-related deals; has had Izod golf shirts delivered to his house mistakenly; and has opened the door to find process servers handing him a subpoena to appear in court.”I was listed,” Frank S. Peters explained, “and he had an unlisted phone, so people would call me up. And the best one … are you ready? A rumor started circulating among my wife’s female friends … that I was seeing another woman.”He said it turned out that Frank E. Peters apparently had been estranged from his wife, Marta, and had started sending flowers, candy and other romantic gifts to a woman working in a local real estate office, and Margie Peters’ friends had caught wind of it.After a brief period of confusion, Frank S. Peters said, things got straightened out, and everybody had a good laugh.The two men have not met, but while Frank S. Peters was serving on the Aspen City Council in the late 1980s, Frank E. Peters made a formal request at one meeting to take over management of the Aspen municipal golf course.”He wanted to privatize the golf course,” Frank S. Peters recalled. “He always seemed to be a wheeler-dealer.” He said that one of the mistaken phone calls was from a harried man urging Peters to come to Grand Junction to close on the purchase of a golf course there.When told of Frank E. Peters’ conviction, Frank S. Peters’ first response was, “Really? Finally! Now maybe I’ll stop getting the phone calls.”Later he added, “I guess all I can say on the bright side is, it’s just a short trip from Buffalo to the Canadian border.”Frank E. Peters could not be reached for comment.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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