SpongeBob coins are seized by FBI agents
FBI agents have seized silver SpongeBob SquarePants coins made by a private company in New Zealand as part of its take-down of a financier who pleaded guilty to nearly 20 counts of fraud. Russell Wasendorf, Sr., CEO of Cedar Falls, Iowa-based Peregrine Financial Group, has confessed to doctoring bank statements to make regulators believe his futures brokerage firm had twice the assets it actually did. The fraud left customers with an estimated shortfall of over $200 million. Peregrine has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The firm ran a unit called PFG Precious Metals, Inc., that offered investors “wholesale prices” for gold, silver and platinum coins, as well as novelty items like the SpongeBob coins, a four-coin set housed in a “distinctive” treasure chest. Each coin showed a character from the popular Nickelodeon animated series and was inscribed with “In SpongeBob we trust” plus the Peregrine logo. The set sold for $259. When FBI agents seized the coins they were housed in a vault at the Peregrine headquarters vault in Cedar Falls.
Ken’s Korner / September 2012
News & Views From the World of Antiques & Collectibles
By Ken Hall