Iowa brokerage CEO indicted in $200M fraud scheme

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Associated Press

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 14 at 4:00 AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The founder of a bankrupt Iowa-based brokerage accused in a $200 million fraud scheme has been indicted on 31 counts of making false statements to regulators.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment Monday against Peregrine Financial Group CEO Russ Wasendorf Sr.

Wasendorf has been jailed since his arrest last month, which came while he was hospitalized following a failed suicide attempt outside Peregrine's office in Cedar Falls.

The indictment says Wasendorf submitted documents to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission that overstated the amount of customer money held by Peregrine by "at least tens of millions of dollars." If convicted, Wasendorf faces up to 155 years in prison.

Authorities say Wasendorf left a detailed suicide note confessing to a 20-year scheme to commit fraud and embezzle customer funds.

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