Russell Wasendorf Sr., chief executive officer of failed futures brokerage Peregrine Financial Group, pleaded not guilty to lying to federal regulators in an Iowa court on Friday.
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The widely expected move is likely to set the stage for an eventual plea agreement, legal observers said, after Wasendorf confessed last month to bilking his customers out of millions of dollars.
Wasendorf, 64, overstated the amount of customer funds at his brokerage by tens of millions of dollars in faked monthly and yearly reports to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a federal indictment.
The CFTC has said Wasendorf also misappropriated more than $200 million in customer funds.