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Prosecutor: Crooked Iowa broker deserves 50 years

FILE - This Monday, April 4, 2011 file photo shows Russ Wasendorf, Sr., CEO of failed Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wasendorf is expected to be sentenced Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 to prison for embezzling up to $215 million in funds that were supposed to be held separately to protect investors. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Rick Chase, File)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) -- A prosecutor is asking a judge to sentence a founder of Peregrine Financial Group to 50 years in prison for stealing $215 million from investors and concealing his theft for 20 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan told U.S. District Judge Linda Reade on Thursday that Russ Wasendorf Sr. committed fraud every day for 20 years at his Cedar Falls brokerage and victimized more than 13,000 customers.

Deegan urged the judge to consider victims when sentencing Wasendorf, including those who lost money for retirement or to care for a disabled relative.

Wasendorf's attorney is expected to seek a lighter sentence at the hearing.

Former U.S. Rep. David Nagle of Waterloo testified on Wasendorf's behalf and urged Reade to consider Wsaendorf's positive attributes, including charitable contributions he made.