Suicidal CEO Arrested on Fraud Charges

PFGBest founder admits embezzling, blames his ego
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2012 2:12 PM CDT
Suicidal CEO Arrested on Fraud Charges
A sign identifying the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is seen outside the building in Chicago in this July 9, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, file)

Police today arrested Russell Wasendorf Sr., the CEO of Peregrine Financial Group and its PFGBest unit, who allegedly tried to kill himself this week, the US Attorney's office announced. Wasendorf, who was charged with lying to regulators, reportedly admitted embezzling "millions of dollars." The complaint against Wasendorf gives the public its first look at his suicide note, in which he appears not only to confess his crimes, but to detail how he committed them, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"I have committed fraud. For this I feel constant and intense guilt," the statement reads, saying he has been forging bank statements for nearly 20 years. "I had no access to additional capital and I was forced to make a difficult decision: Should I go out of business or cheat? I guess my ego was too big to admit failure." The statement, which Wasendorf signed, was inside the car where he was found Monday. Wasendorf's court-appointed receiver says he is still "incapacitated." (More PFGBest stories.)

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