Why did hedge-fund swindler Sam Israel finally turn himself in to the cops this morning, after more than 23 days at large? The US Marshals say he caved under the pressure of their exhaustive investigation.
“I haven’t seen a case like this…where that much detail was being looked into,” said US Marshals spokesman Dave Turner. Turner says that Israel’s friends and family members, including his mother, were all being interviewed by the Marshals. Ultimately, Turner says, Israel probably felt like anything he did could tip off the authorities as to where he was located, even “filling prescriptions.” (That painkiller addiction thing. And not to nitpick, but isn’t this what US Marshals always do?)
Israel suggested that guilt over his girlfriend’s arrest played a part in his decision, but his mother may have been a bigger influence. The New York Times:
Marshals from the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force in Illinois had been in “close contact” with Mr. Israel’s mother, Ann R. Israel, according to Carolyn Gwathmey, a spokeswoman for the marshals.
“They were talking to her right before he surrendered,” Ms. Gwathmey said. Mr. Turner added that Ms. Israel played “an important role” in orchestrating Mr. Israel’s surrender by calling authorities Wednesday morning to alert them that her son was turning himself in.
In fact, he was talking to his mother on his mobile phone when he walked into the lobby of the Southwick police station and surrendered.
He arrived at the station wearing a blue Nike t-shirt and gym shorts and riding the blue Yamaha Elite Scooter that was hitched to the back of his RV. According to the Southwick police chief, Israel appeared to be in good health. But he did have that unshaved, fugitive look about him.
The US Marshals later seized the RV in the Prospect Mountain Campground in Granville, Massachusetts, 7.4 miles away, and are trying to determine whether he actually lived in it. (Incidentally, Israel may have tried to surrender in Granville, but reportedly the part-time police station there was closed.) Turner noted that fugitives typically either try to flee far and fast or they stay in one location and ride it out. It seems like Israel decided to hide out in his RV instead of heading for the border.
After a hearing in Springfield, Massachusetts, Israel is being transported to New York, where the US Attorney has issued a warrant for bail-jumping. There he will have another hearing to face those charges before being sent to prison.
Map of the key locations in Israel’s escape from the WSJ:
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