By P.J. Huffstutter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday sentenced the founder of Peregrine Financial Group to 50 years in prison for looting hundreds of millions of dollars from the brokerage, saying his customers would probably never recover the money they lost.
Russell Wasendorf Sr., who had tried to kill himself just before the fraud was uncovered last year, received the maximum sentence allowed by law and was ordered to pay $215.5 million in restitution for his nearly 20-year scheme.
"I'm very sorry for the financial and emotional damage I've caused to investors and employees of Peregrine Financial Group," Wasendorf said in a feeble voice at a sentencing hearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.