UPDATE: Israel Charged With Bail-Jumping, Sent To Jail

Jul 3 2008 | 2:54pm ET

Bayou Group founder Samuel Israel insists he really did try to commit suicide.

The attempt came two days ago, he said, not on June 9, when he was supposed to report to prison and when his SUV was found idling on a bridge north of New York City with the words, “suicide is painless,” scrawled on the hood. And it was an attempted drug overdose, not a leap from the Bear Mountain Bridge.

“I thought it was better to do myself in than turn myself in,” Israel told a federal judge in New York this morning. Authorities say he had indeed taken drugs, including morphine, in the days prior to his surrender yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon—who sentenced Israel to 20 years in prison for his role in defrauding investors of $450 million, and allowed him to remain free on bail until he reported to prison—greeted Israel with an order to go straight to jail

“Welcome back, Mr. Israel,” McMahon, who the former fugitive’s lawyers had accused of being prejudiced against their client, said. She denied him bail on the new bail-jumping charges filed today, and ordered him to begin serving his 20-year sentence immediately at a federal prison in Manhattan.

He faces another 10 years in prison if convicted of the failure to appear charges. He did not enter a plea at the preliminary hearing today.

Israel turned himself in to U.S. Marshals in southwestern Massachusetts yesterday after more than three weeks on the run.

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