Israel Gets Two More Years For Bail-Jumping

Jul 16 2009 | 11:01am ET

Make it 22 years for convicted hedge fund fraudster Samuel Israel. The Bayou Group founder, who’s already serving a 20-year sentence for defrauding investors of more than $450 million, was sentenced to a further two years today for skipping bail to avoid the fraud term.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas imposed the sentence yesterday. He said it was the first time in his five years on the bench that he sentenced a criminal to more than the term prescribed by federal sentencing guidelines, which recommended 12 to 18 months.

Israel’s decision to flee on the day he was to report to prison last summer “does speak to a disrespect for the law and thumbing his nose at the system,” Karas said. “This was a pretty brazen crime.”

Israel disappeared a little more than a year ago. Instead of reporting to the Massachusetts prison where he was to begin his sentence, he left his SUV idling on a bridge north of New York City with the words, “suicide is painless” scrawled on the hood. He surrendered three weeks later.

The convicted fraudster said he fled because he feared he would not survive the 20-year sentence, given his poor health.

“I had trouble accepting the fact that I would spend the rest of my life in prison,” he said.

It is unclear where Israel will serve his sentences. He remains in a Westchester County, N.Y., jail due to medical issues, his attorney said.

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