July 14, 2012- The CEO of Peregrine Financial Group, the collapsed brokerage, told authorities he had stolen over $100 million from the brokerage firm over a 20-year period.
On Friday, authorities arrested Russell Wasendorf Sr. and charged him with lying to federal regulators. The complaint alleges a fraud that took place over a long period of time that Wasendorf said he orchestrated on his own.
The founder and CEO of Peregrine made his first appearance in federal court Friday answering to the charges he lied to regulators from the futures market regarding the money his company was responsible for safeguarding.
On July 9, authorities found Wasendorf inside his car in front of Peregrine’s headquarters in Iowa following an apparent attempt to kill himself.
His son, Russell Wasendorf Jr. found a statement the elder Wasendorf signed that said he had committed fraud by using laser printers and scanners to make up false bank statements for close to 20 years.
In his signed statement, he said he learned to falsify online bank statements and regulators accepted them without any question. Police confirmed the note his son found was authentic after questioning the elder Wasendorf in the hospital on July 9.
Wasendorf Sr. said he was the only member of the company to see bank statements and made counterfeit ones within hours of the originals arriving at his office.
When comparing one statement given to the accounting department at the business to an original sent by the bank, Wasendorf’s son saw the original listed the balance of the account at $6.3 million, while the accounting statement received from the elder Wasendorf had a balance of $221 million.