Israel To Face N.Y. Judge Today

Jul 3 2008 | 2:00am ET

Samuel Israel is coming home.

A federal judge in Massachusetts ordered the convicted hedge fund fraudster back to New York to face charges of failure to appear, hours after he surrendered to authorities three weeks after he was scheduled to report to prison.

Israel said at a hearing in Springfield, Mass., that he is not “a danger to the community,” and rehashed his oft-repeated line about requiring “daily medical attention.”

"I have not done anything violent," the Bayou Group founder told the judge. "If I was going to flee again, I would not have turned myself in."

“There is not the slightest possibility that I or any other judge would release you at this point,” U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor said.

Ponsor also insisted that Israel, who has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison for defrauding investors of $450 million, return to New York to face new charges stemming from his more-than-three-week flight.

“Can I be taken straight to Fort Devens?” Israel asked, referring to the federal medical center outside Boston where he was supposed to report on June 9.

“No,” the judge replied. “You could have been at Fort Devens if you wanted to be.”

Israel will face U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon—who sentenced Israel—today at 10 a.m. The fraudster’s lawyers have previously accused McMahon of being prejudiced against their client.

A bearded Israel surrendered to police in Southwick, Mass., yesterday morning. The U.S. Marshals Service said his mother, Ann, was instrumental in convincing her son, who had been staying at a campground in nearby Granville, Mass., to turn himself in. He was reportedly speaking to his mother on his cellular phone as he entered the police station.

Authorities had been in touch with friends and family of the fugitive, especially his mother, over the past few weeks, making his surrender yesterday “more or less expected.” Israel turned up at the police station in the motor scooter his girlfriend, Debra Ryan, helped him attach to the back of the recreational vehicle in which he fled. The RV was found in Granville.

Israel said Ryan’s arrest for aiding his flight prompted him to turn himself in.

“They arrested my girlfriend and I turned myself in,” he said as he left the Springfield courtroom.

“She had nothing to do with it,” he added. “That’s the reason I’m here.”

Ryan was released on $75,000 bail, and faces as much as 10 years in prison.

Israel’s SUV was found on the afternoon he was scheduled to report to prison with the words, “suicide is painless,” scrawled on the hood. But authorities quickly concluded that he had staged his death and was on the run, suspicions that were confirmed two weeks ago when Ryan confessed to helping him get his start on the run.

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Bayou Group Head To Be Sentenced Today


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