(CN) – Bayou Hedge fund swindler Samuel Israel III surrendered to federal officials today, three weeks after faking his suicide and disappearing. Israel, who fled on June 9 rather than begin serving a 20-year term for swindling investors of $450 million, surrendered in Southwick, Mass., this morning. He was talking to his mom on a cell phone when he gave up, The New York Times reported.
Here is an excerpt from Courthouse News’ June 20 on the arrest of Israel’s girlfriend, who has been charged with aiding and abetting his flight.
Feds Say Samuel Israel Is On The Lam, Fleeing
20-Year Term For Bayou Hedge Funds Fraud
MANHATTAN (CN) – Federal prosecutors have charged Samuel Israel III’s girlfriend with aiding and abetting his faked suicide on June 9, the day Israel was to report to prison to begin a 20-year sentence for defrauding investors of $450 million in Bayou Group hedge funds. U.S. Marshals are circulating a poster with a photo and description of the RV Israel is believed to be driving. The poster says Israel “should be considered armed and dangerous.”
The federal complaint claims Debra Ryan aided and abetted Israel’s failure to surrender to serve his sentence on June 9. In the complaint, Marshal Sean McCluskey says that from June 9 to 19, Ryan repeatedly denied knowing of Israel’s whereabouts. On June 10, Ryan told New York Police she had found a suicide note by Israel, the complaint states. State police found Israel’s SUV on the Bear Mountain Bridge 40 miles north of New York City on June 9. “Suicide is Painless” was written in dust on the hood, but no body was found and no one reported seeing anyone jump from the bridge or leave the vehicle, police said at the time. Police, and defrauded investors, immediately suspected a ruse. An attorney who represented 20 investors who lost $25 million in the Bayou frauds told The New York Times, “I’ll believe it when I see a body. … It’s just another fraudulent act.”
According to the complaint, Ryan eventually told investigators that she met Israel at an auto repair shop on June 7 and helped him attach t motor scooter to a hydraulic lift on the back of an RV. The next say, she said, she help him pack the RV with Israel’s belongings. On June 9, she said, Israel drove the RV to a rest area off Interstate 684, near I-84, and she accompanied him in her car. He parked the RC there, then she drove him back home, McCluskey says.