Illarramendi Won't Lose Bail Over Tax Refund

Aug 13 2012 | 12:35pm ET

Hedge fund fraudster Francisco Illarramendi will remain out of jail—for the next two-and-a-half months, anyway.

A federal judge in Connecticut refused to revoke Illarramendi's bail, which keeps him under house arrest, on Friday. Prosecutors had sought to have the Michael Kenwood Group and Highview Point Partners founder thrown in jail after he failed to disclose a tax refund. Illarramendi's assets are currently frozen, but he used some of the more than $600,000 tax refund to pay off a lien on a luxury car and to pay his lawyers.

Illarramendi pleaded guilty in March to running a $540 million fraud, one of whose biggest victims was the pension fund for employees of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. He faces up to 70 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 30.

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill told prosecutors that the only issue before him was whether Illarramendi was a flight risk, a risk that he adjudged to be "extremely small." But he had harsh words—and a tighter curfew—for Illarramendi, as well.

The judge called Illarramendi's actions "unfortunate, ill-advised and frankly potentially criminal," and said they may push him to sentence the fraudster to more time in prison.

"If you want to go to prison for a really long time, just hop on a plane and we can accommodate you," Underhill warned.

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