January 15, 2013

Peregrine Financial Group's former chief executive, who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100 million from customers of his futures brokerage, will be sentenced on Jan. 31, according to court documents filed on Monday.

Russell Wasendorf Sr., 64, who founded the now-defunct firm,

faces a potential maximum sentence of 50 years in prison after pleading guilty in September to mail fraud, lying to regulators and embezzling customer money.

Wasendorf has been awaiting sentencing in a jail in Iowa, where Peregrine Financial was based. The Jan. 31 hearing is in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Wasendorf's life unraveled in July when he attempted to kill himself and confessed in a suicide note to bilking customers over nearly 20 years.

Peregrine Financial, known as PFGBest, quickly collapsed and thousands of former customers are still missing money.

Meanwhile, bills from lawyers and accountants working to help a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee figure out what remains at the failed brokerage are rolling in.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's largest accounting firms, submitted a bill for $1.6 million for about 4,239 hours of work between July 22 and Oct. 31, according to a filing in Peregrine's bankruptcy case on Monday.

PwC continues to provide financial advisory services in the case, documents said.

On Friday, Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin, the law firm representing Trustee Ira Bodenstein, submitted a bill for $671,417 for 1,508 hours of work between July 10 and Oct. 31, according to court documents.

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