Russell Wasendorf Sr., the chief executive of the futures brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group, violated section 1001(a)(1) & (3) of Title 18 by “making and using false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Government of the United States” according to a criminal complaint filed this week in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (embedded below). Wasendorf reported attempted to take his own life as the fraud at Peregrine Financial (also called PFGBest) came to light and left suicide notes and other documents detailing his decades-long fraud, according to the complaint. Peregrine Financial filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition earlier this week in the bankruptcy court in Chicago.
According to an affidavit from an FBI agent attached to the complaint, a signed statement found in Wasendorf Sr.’s vehicle stated in part:
I have committed fraud. For this I feel constant and intense guilt. . . . Through a scheme of using false bank statements I have been able to embezzle millions of dollars from customer accounts at Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. The forgeries started nearly twenty years ago and have gone undetected until now.
The FBI affidavit goes on to detail just how severe the forgeries were: fraudulent U.S. Bank statements depicting account balances in excess of $221.7 million were used prepare 2011 year end financial statements sent to the CFTC. The actual amount in the U.S. Bank accounts at that time was less than $6.4 million.