NEW YORK – A missing hedge fund swindler who faked his own suicide turned himself in to Massachusetts authorities on Wednesday.
Samuel Israel surrendered to police in Southwick, Mass., around 9 a.m., a month after etching the "MASH" theme song title, "Suicide Is Painless," in dust on the hood of his SUV and leaving it on an upstate New York bridge over the Hudson River.
Because no body was found beneath the 150-foot-high Bear Mountain Bridge where his car was abandoned, authorities he had faked his disappearance and issued an alert on June 9, the same day he was to begin a 20-year prison sentence.
Suzanne Anderson, police Chief Mark Krynicki's assistant, said Israel was being processed at Southwick Police headquarters and referred all further questions to federal authorities.
Israel, 48, the co-founder and chief executive of the now-collapsed Bayou hedge funds, was sentenced in April to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy and fraud and ordered to pay $300 million to the investors he swindled through his Connecticut-based company.
Prosecutors said he and two other men persuaded investors to put $450 million into the Stamford, Conn.-based company by announcing nonexistent profits and providing fake audits.
Meanwhile, they made millions in commissions on trades that lost money for investors. The fund's collapse prompted calls for stricter oversight.
Officials said that after Israel abandoned his car, he took off in a white recreational vehicle carrying a motor scooter and his belongings. He was believed to be staying at RV parks, campgrounds or highway rest areas.
Southwick, where Israel turned himself in, is near the Connecticut line about 100 miles southwest of Boston.
Israel's girlfriend, Debra Ryan of Armonk, was arrested 10 days after his disappearance and charged with aiding and abetting his escape.
Authorities say Ryan confessed that on the day Israel was to surrender, she drove her car and he drove the RV to a rest area about 55 miles north of New York City. Israel parked the RV there, and the two drove back to their home.
Ryan could face as many as 10 years in prison if convicted in the scheme.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.