Peregrine Financial Group ex-CEO sentenced to 50 years in jail

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:12pm EST

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Jan 31 (Reuters) - Russell Wasendorf Sr., who admitted looting more than $100 million from broker Peregrine Financial Group in a scheme that shook confidence in the U.S. futures industry, was sentenced to 50 years behind bars on Thursday.

Wasendorf was ordered to pay $215.5 million in restitution.

The sentence came six months after Wasendorf, 64, botched a suicide attempt outside his now-defunct brokerage's $24-million headquarters in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and confessed to bilking tens of thousands of customers over nearly 20 years.

Prosecutors argued that Wasendorf stole more than $215 million, using little more than a rented post office box, Photoshop and inkjet printers to fake bank statements and dupe regulators.