Bayou Group Fraudster Turns Himself In

Jul 2 2008 | 11:29am ET

Hedge-fund-fraudster-turned-fugitive Samuel Israel surrendered to police this morning after more than three weeks on the lam.

The Bayou Group founder turned himself in to police at 9:30 a.m. in Southwick, Mass., just outside Springfield and 80 miles from the bridge where his SUV was found on June 9 with the words, “suicide is painless,” scrawled on the hood. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan confirmed that Israel is in federal custody.

Israel disappeared on the day he was scheduled to report to prison outside Boston to begin serving a 20-year sentence for defrauding investors of $450 million. His vehicle was found idling on the Bear Mountain Bridge 40 miles north of New York City at about noon on June 9, leading to a massive manhunt.

Despite the staged suicide, authorities quickly concluded that Israel was not in the Hudson River but on the run. Two weeks ago, Israel’s girlfriend, Debra Ryan, admitted she helped him pack a recreational vehicle in the days before his disappearance and then lied to police about his movements on that morning. She has been charged with aiding Israel’s flight, and faces as much as 10 years in prison.

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