CHICAGO (Reuters) - The National Futures Association, the regulator that PFGBest CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. says he fooled for years, “caught” the fraud this week with new technologies, NFA’s chairman told Reuters in an interview.
Wasendorf doctored paper bank statements from three different banks for 20 years to pull off the fraud, he said in a signed statement cited in a Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint on Friday.
The fraud came to a climactic end on Monday when Wasendorf tried to commit suicide near his firm’s Cedar Falls, Iowa headquarters. He was hospitalized, and on Friday was arrested by FBI agents.
NFA started a new audit of PFGBest about two weeks ago and the regulator for the first time demanded Wasendorf allow its auditors an electronic, direct look at his bank accounts, NFA’s non-executive chairman Chris Hehymeyer said in the interview.
Wasendorf gave NFA the authority to do so on Sunday, Hehmeyer said. On Monday, Wasendorf attempted suicide, leaving a signed statement in his car that detailed his fraud, according to the FBI complaint.
“They are the ones that uncovered this whole thing,” Hehmeyer said, of NFA auditors. “If they hadn’t caught him, it could have gotten a lot bigger.”
Reporting by Ann Saphir