Russell Wasendorf Sr., founder of Peregrine Financial Group Inc., was sentenced to the maximum 50 years in prison by a federal judge on Thursday in Cedar Rapids.
Wasendorf had spent 20 years cultivating an image of a modern-day Renaissance man: a visionary business leader, restaurateur, philanthropist and publisher. It was all part of the biggest fraud, by dollar amount, in Iowa history, The Des Moines Register reported.
The truth finally caught up to Wasendorf on Thursday, when he was sentenced for pilfering more than $215 million from customers' funds.
The 64-year-old will be at least 107 years old by the time he's eligible for release for good behavior.
"This is a very serious offense with staggering effects to the victims and ripple effects," U.S. District Judge Linda Reade said as she handed down the prison term. "The sentence I impose must be a deterrent to others."