The hunt for the assets of Peregrine Financial Group CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. has yielded a backyard pool, 2,000 bottles of wine, pickup trucks and some high-end photography equipment, Reuters reported.
But a receiver appointed for Wasendorf's assets in the Cedar Falls firm's bankruptcy says that so far there is little to suggest that the CEO, who in July confessed to stealing more than $100 million from the futures broker's customers over nearly 20 years, blew the money on high-priced cars or other indulgences whose sale could quickly generate money for bilked clients. He did own a private jet, but that appears to be heavily mortgaged,Reuters said.
Wasendorf's relatively modest stash of possessions stands in contrast to the flashy toys with which other financial swindlers of recent years have surrounded themselves, and suggests that recouping money for Peregrine's former clients will not be easy, Reuters said.
Wasendorf's Cedar Falls home has a backyard pool with a retractable glass roof, a tree house, and grounds spacious enough to erect a tent for the firm's annual picnic, Michael Eidelman, the receiver, told Reuters as he headed back to Chicago from Iowa late on Friday.
But inside, the house was comfortable, not ostentatious, Eidelman said. There were couches, electronic equipment, family photos and, in the basement, a large amount of home-canning equipment.
"We do expect and we hope that we are going to find more assets as the investigation goes on," he said.
Peregrine's bankruptcy trustee has previously said he has found less than $25 million in cash and liquid assets. Eidelman did not say what, if any, cash he has located in Wasendorf's own accounts, and a court filing last week listing Wasendorf's known assets does not mention any. The investigation, the filing said, is in its infancy.
Peregrine, formerly one of the largest independent U.S. futures brokerages, filed for bankruptcy protection in Chicago on July 10, a day after Wasendorf attempted suicide just outside his company's Cedar Falls headquarters.
Wasendorf left a note confessing to years of fraud and said he spent "most" of the embezzled funds on keeping his money-losing brokerage in business.
He arrested on July 13 for lying to regulators, and is being held at Linn County Correctional Center.
Wasendorf did build a brand-new, state-of-the-art $20-million office building and owned a downtown Cedar Falls restaurant named myVerona.
There have been two or three expressions of interest in the office building, and a couple in the restaurant, Eidelman said.