Peregrine Founder To Be Sentenced Jan. 31, Faces Up To 50 Years

Jan 16 2013 | 11:26am ET

The founder of collapsed futures brokerage Peregrine Financial Group will be sentenced at the end of the month.

Russell Wasendorf is facing what could amount to a life sentence; the 64-year-old could be sent to prison for between 24 and 50 years for defrauding clients of more than $200 million. His sentencing is set for Jan. 31, according to a court filing this week.

Wasendorf pleaded guilty to mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements to regulators in September. He was arrested in July as PFG fell apart and just before he attempted suicide. In a written confession, he admitted to "fraud" and to having "cheated," acknowledging he took "more than $100 million" in client money to shore up the firm.

Wasendorf has remained in custody since his arrest.

In addition to decades in prison, Wasendorf could be fined $3.3 million. He's already agreed to pay restitution, although the trustee liquidating PFG has said customers could face losses of up to $190 million. A recent auction of Wasendorf's and PFG's property raised just $1 million.

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