Russell Wasendorf Sr., the founder of the bankrupt commodities firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc., was sentenced to 50 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a theft of more than $215 million from customers.

Wasendorf, 64, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said in a statement. The financier used a printer, software and a post office box to create false bank statements and other documents and hide his 20-year embezzlement starting in the early 1990s, prosecutors said.

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