Attorneys, close friend react after Wasendorf's sentencing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Attorneys, close friend react after Wasendorf's sentencing

Russ Wasendorf, Sr., the former CEO of Cedar Falls-based Peregrine Financial, will spend 50 years in prison.

Wasendorf heard his sentence Thursday morning in federal court in Cedar Rapids after pleading guilty last September to fraud, embezzlement, and lying to regulators.

Thursday morning federal prosecutors were given the conclusion they were looking for.

"The biggest con-man in the history of our state just received the longest white-collar sentence that has ever been imposed in the northern district of Iowa," said acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry.

Some 13,000 investors fell victim to Wasendorf's fraud spanning 20 years.

"He deceived and defrauded thousands of investors throughout the country," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Metz.

Prosecutors say his federal sentence sends a message to white collar criminals.

Today's 50 year sentence is the maximum allowed by law.

There's no parole in the federal system.

The defense had argued for a lesser sentence, given Wasendorf's cooperation with authorities, charitable work, age, and deteriorating health.

Linda Livingston, a pastor and friend, who testified during the sentencing hearing, has visited Wasendorf in jail since his arrest.

Livingston says he expected and now accepts his 50 year sentence.

"He does not feel sorry for himself whatsoever, but is ready to accept his punishment."

Livingston says Wasendorf is sorry, but understands an apology will never recover the financial and emotional loss he caused to so many others.

"He knows that saying he is sorry doesn't repay anybody who lost money," Livingston said.

Maybe the most heart-felt moment came as Wasendorf spoke to the court, saying the worst punishment is that he'll never regain the love of his son nor ever see his grandchildren again.

"He again knows that was of his own doing, but that's painful," Livingston said.

Wasendorf is being held in the United States Marshal's custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.


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