UPDATE: A preliminary and detention hearing has been reset to next week in federal court for Russell Wasendorf Sr., the futures trading executive and founder of Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. who was charged last week with making false statements regarding a $200 million fraud scheme.
The hearing was previously set for Wednesday, but Wasendorf, 64, of Cedar Falls, filed a continuance because a federal public defender was just assigned to his case Tuesday and she needed more time to prepare, according to the court order.
Wasendorf, charged with making and using false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the U.S. government, told a magistrate last Friday he was hiring an attorney from Chicago, but on Tuesday the court assigned federal public defender Jane Kelly to his case.
The hearing is now set for July 27 in U.S. District Court.
Wasendorf, Peregrine’s chief executive officer, admitted in documents unsealed last Friday that he embezzled millions from the company’s customer accounts. He said the forgeries started nearly 20 years ago and had gone undetected until this week, when he was arrested Monday.
Wasendorf attempted to commit suicide last week, and also left suicide notes for his wife and son in which he confessed to the fraud, according to a criminal complaint. Police recovered a note left to his wife when they found him unresponsive in his vehicle outside of Peregrine last Monday.
According to the complaint, from 2010 through July 2012 Wasendorf Sr. made false statements to the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding the value of customer segregated funds held by Peregrine Financial Group, Inc.
Wasendorf Sr. said in the statement he was in financial trouble and had the choice to go out of business or cheat. He explained how he made forgeries of bank statements and also forgeries of official letters and correspondence from the bank, as well as transaction confirmation statements.
He provided details in the statement about how he made the forgeries and how he went about the fraud by falsifying bank statements and concealing the company’s bank balances, according to the criminal complaint.