Peregrine CEO set to leave jail after guilty plea
CHICAGO, Sept 14 — Peregrine Financial Group Chief Executive Russell Wasendorf Sr., who has confessed to stealing more than US$100 million (RM300 million) from his futures brokerage’s clients, will be released from jail after he pleads guilty on Monday to mail fraud, lying to regulators and embezzling customer money, according to a judge’s order.
Wasendorf (picture), 64, will stay in the home of an Iowa pastor who has counselled him in prison and socialised with him outside of jail, pending sentencing for the crimes, the order said. He will wear an electronic GPS monitoring device.
In approving Wasendorf’s release, US Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles said Wasendorf’s chances to flee were limited as he had surrendered his passport and assets to authorities.
“All of Defendant’s known assets have been seized or restrained, and there is no evidence Defendant has access to any other ready assets,” the order said.
Prosecutors said this week that Wasendorf had agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud, lying to regulators and embezzling customer money and could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
Wasendorf attempted suicide on July 9 near the headquarters of his Cedar Falls, Iowa, brokerage and left a signed confession of a 20-year-long fraud.
He was arrested on July 13 and charged with 31 counts of lying to regulators.
The search continues for the money he stole. Former clients are still unable to access funds frozen since the firm’s bankruptcy on July 10.
Once released, Wasendorf will be confined to the home of Linda Livingston, a pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, and her husband in Marion, Iowa where Wasendorf was raised.
He will be wear an electronic monitoring device and be allowed to leave the house only for religious services, medical emergencies, and court-ordered obligations.
Wasendorf has said he is no longer suicidal, according to the order. He takes medication for an overactive thyroid, gout, arthritis and an iron deficiency.
The Livingstons have socialised periodically with Wasendorf and his then-fiancé Nancy Paladino during the past six years, and the pastor has visited Wasendorf in Linn County Jail in Iowa three to four times a week since his arrest.
Wasendorf married Paladino two weeks before he attempted suicide. She filed for an annulment last month, but has offered to stay with Wasendorf at the Livingstons’ home, according to the order. — Reuters