A man who scrawled the words "Suicide is Painless" in dust on the hood of his car before abandoning it on a New York bridge is believed by federal investigators to be alive and well elsewhere, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
Convicted hedge-fund swindler Samuel Israel III was to turn himself in to serve a two-decade prison stint after bilking investors out of $450 million. Instead, investigators said he parked his 2006 GMC Envoy on the Bear Mountain Bridge, and vanished. But authorities strongly suspect he did not jump, according to the paper.
"We're not searching (the river) because it's widely presumed that he didn't jump," a police source told the Post.
The FBI believes Israel, 48, got into another car and drove away.
"There's nothing to substantiate that he killed himself," another police source said.
Israel's Bayou Group LLC hedge funds were exposed as a Ponzi scheme in 2005 after investors learned they had lost millions. Some of those victims, also believe that the Armonk, N.Y., resident is not dead.
"Unless they find a body, I think he's on the lam," Ross Intelisano, a lawyer for investors who lost $25 million in the Stamford, Conn.-based funds, told the Post.
"Suicide is Painless" is the name of the theme of the classic M*A*S*H television show.