Regulators have halted trading at a financial firm in Cedar Falls, just hours after the company’s founder attempted suicide. Paramedics were called to Peregrine Financial Group’s headquarters in rural Cedar Falls at about 8 a.m. Monday.
Company founder Russell Wasendorf, Senior, was airlifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City, where he was listed in critical condition overnight. The National Futures Association, a watchdog group that oversees the futures and commodities industry, filed paperwork Monday afternoon that has effectively frozen all of the company’s accounts.
PFG Best has been accused of being complicit in a Ponzi scheme run by a Minnesota man who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2010. A court-appointed receiver attempting to recover funds for victims of the Ponzi scheme has suggested there have been “overwhelming red flags of fraud” in PFG’s operations.
Wasendorf, the company founder who attempted suicide yesterday, is a Marion native. He founded Peregrine Financial in Chicago in 1990.
He built the company’s current headquarters in 2009, and also helped establish the My Verona restaurant in downtown Cedar Falls. In 2009, Wasendorf’s company made a $2-million donation to the U.N.I. athletic department.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls