WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The girlfriend of a missing hedge fund swindler was arrested Thursday and charged with helping him elude his sentence on the day he was supposed to begin serving 20 years in prison.
Debra Ryan was charged with aiding and abetting the escape of Samuel Israel III.
The complaint against Ryan indicates that Israel may have taken off in a recreational vehicle packed with his belongings and carrying a motor scooter.
The day after he was supposed to surrender, Ryan told state police she found a suicide note written by Israel, the complaint said.
On Thursday, Ryan acknowledged that she helped Israel attach a motor scooter to the back of an RV and helped him pack it with his belongings, according to the complaint. She told authorities that on the day Israel was to surrender, she drove her car and he drove the RV to a rest area about 55 miles (about 90 kilometers) north of New York City. Israel parked the RV there, and the two drove back to their home, the complaint says, quoting Ryan.
The complaint had no other information about what happened later that day.
Israel, 48, was supposed to turn himself in to prison officials June 9 but never showed up.
Authorities say he abandoned his sport utility vehicle on a Hudson River bridge, with the ominous words "Suicide is Painless" etched in dust on the hood to make it appear he had jumped and then disappeared.
No body was found beneath the 150-foot-high (46 meter-high) bridge, and authorities said they believed the scene was yet another of Israel's scams.
Ryan appeared before a judge in federal court in White Plains for arraignment Thursday. She was released on the condition that she post $75,000 bond by Monday. Her attorney, Paul Davison, did not enter a plea.
Ryan, who could face as many as 10 years in prison if convicted, refused to comment as she left the courthouse. Davison also refused to comment.
Israel turned fugitive after making a fortune swindling hedge-fund investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ryan originally told police that Israel left their Armonk house June 9 to drive to prison. It was unclear whether she asked what he planned to do with his vehicle once he got to a penitentiary in Massachusetts for inmates with special health needs.