Information line, Web page set up for Wasendorf's victims

Victim Rights Code allows former Peregrine customers to remain informed of proceedings

April 1, 2014 | 2:01 am

The U.S. Attorney's Office  has established a telephone line and a page on its Web site to provide updates and other information for victims of former Peregrine Financial CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr.

Wasendorf is in custody and awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to embezzling $200 million as the CEO of now-defunct Peregrine Financial Group Inc.

Under the Crime Victims Rights Act of the U.S. Code, victims of federal crimes are entitled to notification of certain court proceedings.  U.S. Chief Judge Linda Reade approved a victim notification procedure Oct. 5, to be used by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Wasendorf criminal case. The goal of the procedure is to provide victims with timely and accurate information about the criminal case and their rights under the law.

Victims can call the Victim Information Line at (319) 297-3711 to hear a recorded message providing the latest updates on the case. Victims can also view the Victim Witness Assistance link on the U.S. Attorney’s Web site to receive updated case information. The site provides victims with information about their statutory rights and includes links to various court documents in the case. The Web site can be found at www.justice.gov/usao/ian/VWwasendorf.html.

Wasendorf pleaded guilty last month to mail fraud, embezzlement of customer funds, making false statements to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and making false statements to a futures trading association. He faces up to 50 years in prison, if a judge runs the sentenced consecutively, and $3.2 million or more in fines and an undetermined amount of restitution and $100 million in forfeitures, according to the plea agreement.

Wasendorf admitted to stealing more than $200 million from customer funds for more than 20 years, as described in a suicide note and signed statements police recovered last month, and of lying to authorities after being charged. He also admitted in the plea to making false statements to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a futures trading association. Also as part of the plea deal, he admitted to overstating the value of customer funds in a monthly report in May 2012 and to forging bank account information submitted to regulators in May 2011.

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