As previously noted, there’s been nary a dull moment in Peregrine Financial Group founder Russell Wasendorf Sr. In July, Mr. Wasendorf attempted suicide just before regulators unraveled his scheme to embezzle millions of dollars from customers of his Iowa-based futures brokerage.
How did he do it? With a scanner, a post office box and Adobe Photoshop.
To what end? Something about Romanian real estate investments.
How much did he take? Prosecutors say more than $200 million, though Mr. Wasendorf’s public defender disputes that number.
What’s this have to do with SpongeBob? Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. Earlier this month, the trustee for Peregrine’s creditors produced an inventory of the firm’s assets, determining that 304 silver coins picturing characters from cartoon television show SpongeBob SquarePants were missing. Mr. Wasendorf would like to help recover said commemoratives, which would retail at something like $20,000, but it’s kind of hard as long as he’s locked up and awaiting sentencing. Which is one reason—a desire to spend his last days before sentencing on Iowa soil, relative poverty, absence of passport are some others—his lawyer said a judge should dismiss prosecutors’ requests to deny bail.
According to The Journal: “Mr. Wasendorf stands ready to further guide authorities in the process, but while he remains jailed, ‘it is nearly impossible for him to assist in a meaningful review of such a large number of documents,’ wrote [Mr. Wasendorf's lawyer Jane Kelly].
Believe the search for commemorative silver coins to be trivial? These Reuters reporters have a sample chapter.