AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Samuel Israel III, right, arrives at the United States Courthouse in New York, Monday,
April 14, 2008.

Was it Suicide, or Is Samuel Israel on the Run?

June 11, 2008 04:03 PM
by Cara McDonough
Police are searching for the hedge fund manager who abandoned his car by a New York bridge Tuesday instead of driving himself to prison.

30-Second Summary

Israel, cofounder of the Stamford, Ct. hedge fund Bayou Group LLC, was reportedly on his way to the Massachusetts federal prison to begin serving a 20-year sentence for defrauding Bayou investors of more than $400 million.

But when his abandoned car was found near the Bear Mountain Bridge with the message “Suicide is Painless” written on the windshield, it seemed he’d chosen to take his own life instead.

A body, however, has not been found, and officials believe there is a possibility that Israel could be on the run.

“It looks like it could be either a suicide or a staged suicide, a fake suicide,” said police investigator Bruce Cuccia. “Without a body, we don’t have conclusive evidence either way.” Cuccia said that no one reported seeing a jumper Tuesday.

Israel, 48, along with Bayou chief financial officer Daniel E. Marino, pled guilty to fraud charges in September 2005. Israel had shut down the hedge fund only months before, admitting it was a fraud.

Following the public scandal, Marino, who was also sentenced to 20 years in jail, wrote a six page “suicide note and confession,” although he never followed through on his suicide threat. Authorities used the information in the letter in the ensuing investigation.

Police aircraft and boats were still searching the river Wednesday for Israel’s body.

Headline Link: The search for Israel

Background: Bayou’s fall and Marino’s unfulfilled suicide note

Related Topic: Other suicides related to financial scandals


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