CEO Of Iowa-Based Brokerage Attempts Suicide, Setting Off Accounting Investigation

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Photo: PFGBEST

An Iowa-based brokerage with $400 million in customer-segregated funds has been placed on “liquidation-only” status after a suicide attempt by the company’s founder and CEO prompted an investigation into accounting irregularities, according to Reuters. WCFCourier.com’s Jon Erickson adds that Russ Wasendorf Sr., the head of PFGBEST, was airlifted to an Iowa City hospital in critical condition after he was found in his car outside the company’s headquarters in rural Cedar Falls this morning.  

Reuters also reports Wasendorf’s son found a suicide note alluding to financial difficulties.

The company’s futures commission merchant had imposed the “liquidation-only” sanction, which means “no customers are able to trade except to liquidate accounts.” 

According to the firm’s website, Wasendorf founded the firm in 1990, and that he was an early pioneer in online trading platforms.

Here’s the company’s full statement on the situation (via FuturesMag.com):

“Due to a recent emergency involving Russell R. Wasendorf, Sr., a suicide attempt, some accounting irregularities are being investigated regarding company accounts.  PFGBEST is wholly owned by Mr. Wasendorf.  Therefore, the NFA and other officials have put all funds on hold, and PFGBEST is in liquidation-only status with our clearing FCM.  What this means is no customers are able to trade except to liquidate positions. Until further notice, PFGBEST is not authorised to release any funds.  We will update you as any new procedures are stipulated and with any further information as it becomes available.”

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