Amazing. He did it using excel and adobe photoshop to create documents.
The perp left a suicide note (but failed in his suicide attempt) outlining the extent of the fraud. He said he stole $100 million - but the number might be twice that. His company has declared bankruptcy (it was a commodites and futures trading house primarily) and here's the company website.
The AP report -
FBI agents arrested Peregrine Financial Group Inc. Russell Wasendorf Sr. at a local hospital Friday and he appeared in federal court later in the day on charges of lying to federal regulators. Court documents detail a wide-ranging fraud scheme in which Wasendorf apparently fooled colleagues, customers and regulators by creating fraudulent financial records.
The Wall Street Journal did a much better report, but unfortunately it's only available to subscribers
(Here's the link - you can try it if you're not a subscriber and you may get through)
Wasendorf's note is online - here's a partial text -
Here,... is part of the text of Wasendorf’s statement:
“I have committed fraud. For this I feel constant and intense guilt. I am very remorseful that my greatest transgressions have been to my fellow man. Through a scheme of using false bank statements I have been able to embezzle millions of dollars from customer accounts at Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. The forgeries started nearly twenty years ago and have gone undetected until now. I was able to conceal my crime of forgery by being the sole individual with access to the US Bank accounts held by PFG. No one else in the company ever saw an actual US Bank statement. The Bank statements were always delivered directly to me when they arrived in the mail. I made counterfeit statements within a few hours of receiving the actual statements and gave the forgeries to the accounting department.”
Later in the signed statement, Wasendorf wrote, in part:
“…. I had no access to additional capital and I was forced into a difficult decision: Should I go out of business or cheat? I guess my ego was too big to admit failure. So I cheated, I falsified the very core of the financial documents of PFG, the Bank Statements. At first I had to make forgeries of both the Firstar Bank Statements and the Harris Bank Statements. When I choose [sic] to close the Harris Account I only had to falsify the Firstar statements [elsewhere in the signed statement Wasendorf noted that Firstar "eventually became US Bank"]. I also made forgeries of official letters and correspondence from the bank, as well as transaction confirmation statements.
Using a combination of Photo Shop, Excel, scanners, and both laser and ink jet printers I was able to make very convincing forgeries of nearing every document that came from the Bank. I could create forgeries very quickly so no one suspected that my forgeries were not the real thing that had just arrived in the mail.
With careful concealment and blunt authority I was able to hide my fraud from others at PFG. PFG grew out of a one man shop, a business I started in the basement of my home. As I added people to the company everyone knew I was the guy in charge. If anyone questioned my authority I would simply point out that I was the sole shareholder. I established rules and procedures as each new situation arose. I ordered that US Bank statement were to be delivered directly to me unopened, to make sure no one was able to examine an actual US Bank Statement. I was also the only person with online access to PFG’s account using US Bank’s online portal. On US Bank side, I told representatives at the Bank that I was the only person they should interface with at PFG.
When it became a common practice for Certified Auditors and the Field Auditors of the Regulators to mail Balance Confirmation Forms to Banks and other entities holding customer funds I opened a post office box. The box was originally in the name of Firstar Bank but was eventually changed to US Bank. I put the address “PO Box 706, Cedar Falls, lA 50613-0030″ on the counterfeit Bank Statements. When the auditors mailed Confirmation Forms to the Bank’s false address, I would intercept the Form, type in the amount I needed to show, forge a Bank Officer’s signature and mail it back to the Regulator or Certified Auditor.
When online Banking became prevalent I learned how to falsify online Bank Statements and the Regulators accepted them without question.”