After trying to kill himself by sucking on the exhaust fumes from his car, Russell Wasendorf Sr. was hauled into court last Friday on charges of fraud and misuse of funds. In a suicide note found next to his unconscious body, the CEO of Peregrine Financial Group admitted stealing more than $100 million of client funds. Apparently he had applied himself more conscientiously to embezzling his customers’ money than he did to ensuring his suicide would be successful.
Wasendorf had been hospitalized near his Iowa City firm, in front of which he had parked during his dramatic episode. More than $220 million of funds were missing from his firm, suggesting great misuse of his clients’ money than even he admitted to. Peregrine filed for bankruptcy last Tuesday.
“Through a scheme of using false bank statements I have been able to embezzle millions of dollars from customer accounts at Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. The forgeries started nearly twenty years ago and have gone undetected until now. I was able to conceal my crime of forgery by being the sole individual with access to the U.S. Bank accounts held by PFG,” he wrote in the note, according to court documents accor4ding to an AP report in the New York Post.