IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Peregrine Financial Group CEO Russ Wasendorf Sr. has pleaded guilty to a 20-year fraud that duped thousands of investors out of millions of dollars.
During a hearing Monday in Cedar Rapids, Wasendorf admitted in court to a $200 million scheme that he first confessed in a suicide note in July. He pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, embezzling customer funds and making false statements to regulators.
Starting in the early 1990s, Wasendorf used customer funds to prop up the Cedar Falls-based brokerage and other personal interests. To conceal the theft from auditors and regulators, he made hundreds of false bank statements that showed Peregrine held inflated amounts of customer money.
Prosecutors say Wasendorf will likely face a recommended minimum sentence of no less than 24 years in prison.