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Russell Wasendorf Sr. admitted to law enforcement authorities this week that he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years," according to a court complaint released Friday.
The CEO and founder of Peregrine is set for an initial appearance in federal court Friday to answer charges that he lied to futures market regulators regarding customer money that was supposed to be safeguarded by his firm.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday levelled civil charges on Mr. Wasendorf and Peregrine, alleging that about $215 million in customer money had gone missing.
The shortfall came to light after Mr. Wasendorf attempted suicide Monday morning, one day after agreeing to allow regulators to electronically audit his firm's accounts, according to people familiar with details of the investigation.
Peregrine filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Tuesday evening.
In a signed note discovered in Mr. Wasendorf's vehicle Monday morning he said that he had used computer software, scanners and laser printers to falsify bank documents for nearly two decades, according to court documents.
"I have committed fraud. For this I feel constant and intense guilt," the statement said.
Mr. Wasendorf also explained his motivation.
"I had no access to additional capital and I was forced into a difficult decision: Should I go out of business or cheat? I guess my ego was too big to admit failure," the statement said, according to the court filing.
Source: Wall Street Journal | JACOB BUNGE