CEDAR FALLS, IA -- What do SpongeBob SquarePants and over $200 million dollars have in common?
They're both reportedly missing from Peregrine Financial Group.
The Cedar Falls-based international brokerage firm, also known as PFG, went bankrupt in July after CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. was arrested on numerous counts of fraud.
Wasendorf tried to commit suicide July 9 outside the building's multimillion dollar campus. His suicide note allegedly led investigators to the missing millions, and he is in federal prison awaiting trial on charges of lying to authorities.
When the FBI searched PFG's headquarters, they seized about $375,000 in SpongeBob coins, based on a retail price of $259 per set.
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However, Reuters reported the company owned 1,528 sets, according to a 180-page document listing company assets and liabilities filed in bankruptcy court. A note with the filing added that 76 sets were missing.
Thirty-nine ounces of gold were also missing, worth an estimated $66,000.
According to PFG's website, the SpongeBob coins were specially made for PFG in a partnership between the New Zealand mint and PFG Precious Metals, a division of the company. The limited-edition four-coin set is made of silver and features characters from the popular Nickelodeon cartoon.
"This partnership joins a beloved television character with a collectible currency that stands the test of time," Peter Thomas, director of business development for PFG Precious Metals, said in a PFG press release when the coins were first released in 2011. "Coin enthusiasts the world over will be delighted with a precious metal asset in the form of a 4-coin set that features SpongeBob."