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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Iowa broker PFGBest collapses after hiding millions

"TUESDAY" production sign
"TUESDAY" production sign (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)

The U.S. futures industry reeled on Tuesday as Iowa-based broker PFGBest collapsed after regulators accused it of misappropriating customer funds for more than two years, dealing a new blow to trader trust just months after MF Global's demise.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which along with industry regulators had given a clean bill of health to dozens of brokers following spot checks in January, alleged that the firm's regulated Peregrine Financial Group (PFG) unit and its owner had defrauded customers and lied to regulators in order to hide a shortfall that now exceeds $200 million.

"The whereabouts of the funds is currently unknown," the CFTC said in a complaint against PFG and its founder and chairman, Russell R. Wasendorf Sr., whose suicide attempt on Monday morning outside the firm's Cedar Falls, Iowa, offices appears to have precipitated the crisis.
On Tuesday evening, Peregrine filed to liquidate under Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, with between $500 million and $1 billion of assets, between $100 million and $500 million of liabilities, and between 10,000 and 25,000 creditors. The Chapter 7 filing suggests the company is winding down. ... Continue to read.
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