A U.S. judge on Thursday sentenced the founder of Peregrine Financial Group to 50 years in prison for looting hundreds of millions of dollars from the brokerage, saying his customers would probably never recover the money they lost.

Russell Wasendorf Sr., who had tried to kill himself just before the fraud was uncovered, received the maximum sentence allowed by law and was ordered to pay $215.5 million in restitution for his nearly 20-year scheme.


Peregrine's collapse dealt a blow to confidence in the U.S futures industry, already reeling from $1.6 billion hole in customer pockets left when giant brokerage MF Global failed nine months earlier.

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