CEO of Iowa brokerage charged and arrested
IOWA CITY — The CEO of an Iowa-based brokerage firm admitted in a suicide note that he carried out an elaborate fraud scheme in which he embezzled more than $100 million from customers over nearly two decades, federal investigators said Friday.
Agents arrested Russell Wasendorf, 64, on Friday. Federal prosecutors unsealed a criminal complaint charging the CEO of Peregrine Financial Group with making false statements to regulators and released documents detailing a wide-ranging fraud scheme.
Wasendorf had been hospitalized after attempting suicide outside the company’s headquarters Monday by hooking up a tube to his car’s tailpipe. Wasendorf appeared healthy during a court hearing Friday.
His company filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, the same day a regulator filed civil fraud charges alleging that the firm misused customer money and falsely claimed a bank account contained more than $220 million when it actually had about $5 million.
N.C. utility panel to hear from ousted Duke CEO
RALEIGH — North Carolina utilities regulators have called the ousted CEO of Duke Energy to testify next week in their probe of whether they were misled before the merger creating the country’s largest electric company. The N.C. Utilities Commission ordered two more days of hearings for Thursday and Friday.
Former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson was called to testify Thursday along with two members of Progress Energy’s former board. The state regulatory body wants to hear from two Duke Energy board members.
The companies said when their merger was announced 18 months ago that Johnson would head Duke after it took over Progress. But hours after the deal was done, Johnson was out and former Duke CEO Jim Rogers was back in the top job.
Rogers testified Tuesday that directors told him they had lost confidence in Johnson.
Debt purchase makes US Airways creditor of AMR
DALLAS — US Airways on Friday seized a chance to influence bankruptcy proceedings for potential merger target American Airlines by buying debt issued by American’s owner.
US Airways paid $630,000 for the AMR Corp. debt and became a creditor. That gives it the right to comment on issues before the court and file documents. US Airways CEO Doug Parker has said he wants to merge with American.
Boeing fine proposed for tank-repair delays
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration proposed to fine Boeing $13.6 million, its second-largest penalty ever, for delays in telling airlines how to prevent fuel-tank explosions on 383 aircraft.
Boeing was given a Dec. 27, 2010, deadline to submit instructions on how to add explosion-prevention devices in its U.S.-registered 747s and 757s, according to a statement Friday from the FAA.
The company missed the deadline for 747s by 301 days, and was 406 days late for 757s, according to the FAA.
Boeing officials just received word of the proposed penalty and were reviewing it, said a spokesman.
Macy’s wins temporary block against Stewart
NEW YORK — Macy’s said Friday it has won a preliminary block against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia selling some of its products at J.C. Penney. Macy’s sued Martha Stewart Living in January in a bid to stop the licensing deal.
Macy’s claimed the deal violates the terms of an exclusive pact Macy’s has to sell Stewart-branded products at its stores.