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The Boston Globe

Business

Iowa brokerage head gets 50 years for $215m theft

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — For years, Russ Wasendorf Sr. enjoyed the perks of being a successful businessman: a corporate jet, a fancy swimming pool at his mansion, an extensive wine collection, and top chefs who made him meals at the restaurant and office buildings he owned.

Then last summer he admitted that his lavish lifestyle was a lie, built with money he stole from customers at Peregrine Financial Group, the Cedar Falls-based brokerage he founded. Prosecutors said he took $215 million over 20 years in the biggest fraud in Iowa history.

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