Russell Wasendorf, the former CEO of a now defunct Cedar Falls investment firm, has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison. Wasendorf was sentenced today during a hearing in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

The Peregrine Financial Group (PFG) founder pleaded guilty in September to stealing more than $200 million from investor accounts over a 20 year period, as well as lying to investigators about his theft, which prosecutors called “the largest fraud in the history of Iowa.” Wasendorf will also be forced to pay $215.5 million in restitution. The 50 year sentence is the maximum allowable.

Wasendorf’s fraud came to light in July after he attempted suicide outside the PFG headquarters in rural Cedar Falls. Since then, the company has declared bankruptcy and its assets have been sold in an effort to recover some of the money stolen from investors.

by Jesse Gavin, KCNZ