Prosecutor: Wasendorf should get 50-year sentence

Published On: Jan 22 2013 01:58:18 PM CST
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -

A prosecutor says Russ Wasendorf Sr. should be given an effective sentence of life in prison for a fraud scheme that victimized thousands of customers at his Iowa-based brokerage.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan argued in a brief Tuesday that investors lost more than $215 million. He says the scheme in which Wasendorf created phony documents to hide his misuse of funds employed "sophisticated means."

Deegan says the degree of loss and sophistication should enhance Wasendorf's recommended sentence to life in prison under federal guidelines. But the charges carry a maximum of 50 years and that's the sentence Deegan recommended.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade will sentence Wasendorf next week. The 64-year-old was founder and CEO of Peregrine Financial Group, a Cedar Falls-based brokerage that did business as PFGBest.