(CN) – Nicaraguan officials handed fugitive Donald Manning to the FBI last week after he tried to enter the country by boat. Manning made his first federal court appearance in San Diego after fleeing a 2006 indictment for wire fraud.
Manning and his co-defendants are charged with 11 counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy. They are accused of cheating investors of $10 million in a pyramid scam, through their company, The Brixton Group. Manning allegedly promised returns of 10 percent per month and that the principal investment would be insured.
Manning also allegedly claimed that co-defendant Joseph McCool, who supposedly would handle the money, was a financial whiz who had effectively managed a private European trust.
The part Manning left out, according to the indictment, was that there were no substantial investments and that most of new investors’ money would go toward paying previous investors. McCool had spent two years in federal prison on fraud and trafficking convictions.
Judge Nita Storms ordered Manning to be held until his March 4 detention hearing.