Peregrine Financial Group Inc., also known as PFGBest, is in a deeper financial mess than expected, after the brokerage firm’s trustee reported that the company’s liabilities almost doubled its assets.
The company’s bankruptcy filing revealed that it has a total of $525.3 million in liabilities and $270.2 million in total assets.
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The actual amount of Peregrines assets is far lower than the $500 million to $1 billion estimate, while its liabilities are higher than the $250million to $500 million estimate in July.
The current financial status of the company means its 24,000 former clients will experience more hardships in recovering the funds entrusted to the company, intended to back their trades.
In July, the futures industry regulators froze the assets of Peregrine Financial Group, following reports of accounting irregularities and $220 million customer funds which were missing. Its chief executive officer, Russell Wasendorf, Sr. confessed that he had been stealing money from customers to keep continuing the operations of the company. He attempted to end his life on July 9th.
According to Reuters, the Iowa-based futures trading company filed for bankruptcy protection on July 10. Authorities arrested Wasendorf and filed legal charges for misrepresenting financial documents and providing false statements to federal regulators.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alleged that he misappropriated more than $22o million in funds.
According to the company’s trustee, Wasendorf proposed to return 30 percent to 40 percent, or $123 million initial funds to certain customers by the end of September. The percentage of the money he is willing to return is less than the 72 percent received by the customers of MF Global Holdings Ltd. when the company went bankrupt. Analysts believed that the payout to customers would be limited because of the company’s financial situation
Based on the written statement filed to the court by Ira Bodenstein, who serves as trustee to the company, he has $181 million cash on hand, but he plans to keep $58 million as he continues to unwind the company. Customers have been requesting the trustee to act quickly in returning their funds. Authorities said Wasendorf made the process complicated because of the fraud he committed, such as forging bank statements.
The bankruptcy filing also showed that PFGBest has $249.5 million in customer funds deposited in different financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Jefferies Bache Llc. Its financial statement submitted to the court, indicated that the business has been going down since 2010. The company suffered $2.7 million in gross income losses in 2010, $1.2 million in losses in 2011, and $259,000 losses during the six month period of the current fiscal year. PFGBest is also facing 59 lawsuits and legal disputes.