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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

From Frying Pan to Fire

Sam Israel III, the fugitive hedge fund manager who tried to fake his own suicide, surrendered to the police in Massachusetts today. Mr. Israel disappeared just before he was to begin serving the extraordinarily severe 20 year sentence imposed upon him by United States District Judge Colleen McMahon after his plea of guilty to securities fraud charges. On June 9, just before he was to report to federal prison, his SUV was found abandoned on a bridge in Westchester County with the words “suicide is painless” scratched into the dust on the windshield. Authorities were reported to have ruled suicide out and have been hunting for him ever since. Israel’s longtime girlfriend Debra Ryan was charged with aiding and abetting his flight.

Israel’s lawyers have their work cut out for them. In my judgment he will be charged with bail jumping under the federal failure to appear statute. Sentencing guidelines which judges must consult to impose any sentence call for an additional three to four years in jail. It is highly likely this potential hit will be imposed consecutively to his twenty year sentence. Moreover, internal regulations maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons will call for increased security for Mr. Israel because he tried to flee. This will directly affect the quality of his life while serving his sentence. The best chance he has is to claim some kind of deep documentable psychological problem which caused his flight. His lawyers, Larry Bader and Barry Bohrer at Morvillo Abramowitz are tremendously talented. If anyone can avoid the further fricassee of poor Mr. Israel, they can. CR

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