The unraveling of Peregrine Financial Group after its CEO's confession to fraud in a suicide note has been a sad story, but one funny detail emerged Thursday with the news that some of its assets included silver SpongeBob Squarepants coins. Fortunately, CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. didn't succeed in killing himself, but his attempt and his confession to more than $100 million worth of fraud, sparked an investigation into the company (which has since filed for bankruptcy) that had FBI agents raid its offices on Thursday. And that's where things got cartoonish.
Part of the company's business was minting and selling novelty coins, and it had plenty of inventory left when the FBI raided its Cedar Falls, Iowa, headquarters. Investigators haven't said how many coins they found, but the company sure made a lot of them.
The coins, minted by a private firm in New Zealand, were made in batches of 100,000 for each of four designs, according to the website spongebobcoins, which bears the PFGBest logo and one for the New Zealand mint. They came in a set costing $259 U.S., which included one coin each bearing the likeness of characters SpongeBob, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Gary. Each coin was worth two New Zealand dollars (about $1.60) and was made of one ounce of .999 fine silver. And of course they came in a nifty SpongeBob treasure chest, so that's a bonus. On the plus side, the SpongeBob coins you've already bought should be worth more now that their supply is even more limited.
So far, the tale of Wasendorf Sr. has been one of desperation, as police found him in a car with a hose from the exhaust to the window, with a confessional note that read, "should I go out of business or cheat?" He wrote in a separate suicide note to his son that "I never wanted you to know the kind of guy I really was." So yeah, this bizarre, heavy case needed a dose of goofiness.
On the plus side, the SpongeBob coins you've already bought should be worth more now that their supply is even more limited.