Armonk stock swindler in custody, authorities say

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The United States Attorneys Office has confirmed that the man who helped steal $450 million from investors is now in custody.

Samuel Israel III, a 48-year-old Armonk resident, was set to start a 20-year prison sentence three weeks ago in Massachusetts. On the day his sentence was scheduled to begin, authorities found Israel?s maroon SUV on the Bear Mountain Bridge with the words ?suicide is painless? written in dust on the hood.

Three days after discovering the car, authorities put out a wanted poster for Israel because they were convinced that he had faked his suicide. They even released the license plate number and a picture of the RV that they believe Israel used to make his escape. Finally, after being on the run for three weeks, Israel surrendered in Massachusetts on Wednesday.

Federal marshals say Israel was talking to his mother on his cell phone when he walked into the police station where he surrendered. It appears Israel?s mother played a role in her son?s surrender, authorities say.

Israel was sentenced in April to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy and fraud. He was also ordered to pay $300 million to the investors he swindled through his Connecticut-based company.

Israel?s girlfriend, Debra Ryan, is also in trouble. Ryan is charged with aiding and abetting Israel during his escape. She could go to prison for 10 years if found guilty.

Locals have mixed feelings about the Israel situation. ?I think I would have faked my death too,? Ken Stone, an Armonk resident, says. ?20 years is a long time.?

Fellow Armonk resident Debbie Scheinkman disagrees. ?I feel sorry for someone who?s so desperate that he has to go to such lengths to escape the law and swindle people out of money,? she says.

Israel is currently in the custody of federal marshals, who will most likely take him directly to prison. It is unknown if charges against Israel will be upgraded. He and two others, however, were ordered to pay $300 million in restitution to the investors he swindled. So far, they have paid $115 million of that.

Neighbor says Armonk stock swindler not dead

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