The hedge-fund swindler who faked his suicide rather than report for prison has tried to plead guilty — but a federal magistrate in New York wouldn't let him.

Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains asked Samuel Israel III on Wednesday how he pleaded to a charge of failure to surrender.

Israel replied, "Guilty."

But the magistrate said she could not accept the plea. She didn't explain why, but referred the case to another judge.

Israel was supposed to report to a Massachusetts prison hospital on June 9. Instead, he left his SUV on a bridge north of New York City with the words "Suicide is Painless" etched into dust on the hood. He surrendered July 2.