Foshay Enterprises managed public utilities in twelve states, two Canadian provinces, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and Alaska. It featured additional executive offices in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Branch offices were located in Boston, Denver, Des Moines, Saint Paul, Hartford, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Wichita, Houston and Dallas. The company’s slogan read, "All your money ... All the time ... On Time."
The Foshay Tower enjoyed a three-day dedication, from August 29 to September 1, 1929. Foshay spent one hundred and sixteen thousand dollars on the grand event (some say $120,000). Secretary of War, James Williams Good, was in attendance, as were seven governors and several foreign diplomats. John Philip Sousa and his band were on hand to play the specially composed “Foshay Tower - Washington Memorial March.” Time magazine would later say that it was “the biggest day in the life of Wilbur Burton Foshay, utilitycoon.”
Within a year, Wilbur Foshay was indicted back in Minnesota on seventeen counts and tried for devising a "scheme" to "defraud and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises." At the time, it was the state’s most expensive criminal prosecution. Each day, huge crowds gathered in the streets just to get a glimpse of the defendants arriving at the court. It took a lot of "influence" to land an actual seat in the courtroom itself.
The first trial seemed to have been sunk by a hung jury. Then it was discovered that one of the jurors - the lone holdout - had worked for Foshay for ten days. The juror was prosecuted for perjury and convicted, but killed herself and her entire family before serving the six-month sentence. They were all found dead in a car, the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The second trial was conducted in 1932 and lasted nine weeks. It featured eleven volumes of condensed testimony and almost fifteen hundred exhibits. Foshay and associate Henry H. Henley took the witness stand for several days throughout the course of the trial and entertained with insights into their various and crafty methods of bookkeeping. The two admitted, for example, that the companies' "surplus" and "earnings" figures (routinely highlighted in advertising materials) were actually the result of "write-ups" or "appreciations." The duo tried to label their bogus number productions as mere exercises in "creating value," but Henley also admitted company records would "certainly" indicate a deficit if the "write-ups" were eliminated.
Time magazine reported Foshay’s loyal friends back in Salida “didn’t forget him.” They signed petitions and “fought for his release.” And Franklin Roosevelt did in fact commute the sentence to a mere five-year term, on January 24, 1937. As a result, Foshay became immediately eligible for parole. The sentence of Foshay's trial testimony partner, Henley, was also commuted on the same day. Attorney General Homer Cummings told reporters hundred of persons had asked that Foshay’s sentence be reduced.