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Iowa broker linked to Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme admits to fraud

Russell Wasendorf Sr., founder and CEO of Cedar Falls-based Peregrine Financial Group, faces up to 50 years in prison under a plea deal, the Des Moines Register reports. The 64-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud, embezzling customer funds and making false statements to regulators.
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Russell Wasendorf Sr., founder and CEO of Cedar Falls-based Peregrine Financial Group, faces up to 50 years in prison under a plea deal, the Des Moines Register reports. The 64-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud, embezzling customer funds and making false statements to regulators.

The Business Journal notes Wasendorf's brokerage firm played a prominent role in Twin Cities investor Trevor Cook's massive international Ponzi scheme.

Cook plead guilty to fraud in 2010 and is serving a 25 year sentence in federal prison.

Three other men, Jason "Bo" Beckman, Gerald Durand and Patrick Kiley, were also convicted for their role in carrying out Minnesota's second-largest Ponzi scheme that cheated more than 700 people out of $194 million.

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A federal jury in Minneapolis found Jason "Bo" Beckman, Gerald Durand and Patrick Kiley guilty of all charges for their role in helping convicted fraudster Trevor Cook. Each defendant was facing numerous counts of wire and mail fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Their massive international scheme took $194 million from more than 700 people. Cook is serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud in 2010.

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