Wasendorf’s plea of not guilty today may be a prelude to a negotiated guilty plea later, criminal defense lawyer Douglas T. Burns said today. Burns isn’t connected to the Peregrine case.
“At the initial appearance to answer an indictment, a not guilty plea is a legal formality,” he said in an e-mail. “Given his extensive written admissions, I expect that a guilty plea will be entered.”
Peregrine’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition lists more than $500 million in assets and more than $100 million in liabilities. Some of more than 10,000 creditors have already sued Wasendorf and other executives.
Wasendorf has been in custody since his arrest. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in Chicago, who is presiding over the CFTC’s lawsuit, has appointed a receiver to marshal and liquidate Wasendorf’s holdings.
The criminal case is U.S. v. Wasendorf, 12-cr-2021, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (Waterloo). The bankruptcy case is In Re Peregrine Financial Group Inc., 12-27488, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
The regulatory case is Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Peregrine Financial Group Inc., 12-cv-5383, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).