Probe of PFG finances uncovers missing silver SpongeBobs
CEDAR FALLS, Sep 10, 2012 (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Peregrine Financial Group crisis has hit Bikini Bottom.
According to a sea of bankruptcy documents filed late last week, troubled commodity trading firm PFG is missing thousands of dollars of silver coins minted with the likeness of SpongeBob SquarePants and other Bikini Bottom characters from the Nickelodeon cable network cartoon show.
PFG filed for bankruptcy in July after founder Russell Wasendorf Sr. attempted to take his own life amid allegations of embezzlement and fraud.
On Thursday, officials released the first detailed look at the company's finances. It claimed $270,157,990 in assets -- none of it in real estate -- against $525,296,704 in liabilities.
Sunken under listings for hundreds of pieces of computer equipment, office chairs, copyrights and intellectual property -- PFG claimed not only the web address PFGBest.com but also PFGSucks.com -- were five items under the heading "precious metals."
PFG owns 1,528 sets of SpongeBob silver coins, according to the statement.
But not all of the sets have been accounted for. A parenthetical reference notes that 76 sets are missing.
The FBI inventoried 1,449 sets during its investigation, two others were found in "Iowa desks," apparently referring to PFG's Cedar Falls headquarters.
Another set is in Chicago held by Tom Garland, director of PFG Precious Metals, according to documents.
The SpongeBob coins were first offered in 2011 for $259 for a set of four through PFG Precious Metal and New Zealand Mint, according to promotional materials. Each set includes square coins featuring SpongeBob, pet snail Gary, Patrick Star the starfish and Sandy Cheeks the squirrel and proclaim "In SpongeBob we trust." The flip side is adorned by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
At the suggested retail price of $259 per set, the missing SpongeBobs are worth $19,684. As scrap silver, at the current value of $33 per ounce, the missing sets total about $10,000.
For gold, PFG has 133 ounces, although it is supposed to have 172 ounces through its Gold and Silver Accumulation Program, so 39 ounces are missing, records state. With gold currently going for about $1,700 an ounce, the missing metal is worth about $66,300.
Eleven ounces of platinum, six ounces of palladium and another 8,994 ounces of silver held by PFG are apparently accounted for.
The list for office equipment and furnishings includes a baseball glove signed by Major League Baseball stars Joe Torre and Johnny Bench. There is also a signed basketball, but records don't indicate who signed it.
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