Ponzi Schemers Busted After 12 Years On the Run

Illinois 'mini-Madoffs' found in small Arizona town
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2012 4:22 AM CDT
Updated May 7, 2012 5:34 AM CDT
This combo made from undated photos provided by the US Marshals service shows Janet Hallahan, left, and her husband, Nelson Grant Hallahan.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Service)

(Newser) – An Illinois couple who ripped off friends, family, and elderly people in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme has been arrested in Arizona, 12 years after they fled their home state before they could be sentenced on fraud and money laundering charges. Nelson Grant Hallahan, 65, and wife Janet Hallahan, 54, were arrested in a small town in Phoenix after a tipoff was received the day after they were featured on America's Most Wanted, reports the AP. He had been working as a handyman and she had been cleaning houses.

The US Marshals Service says the couple—who scanned obituaries to find elderly people who had been left with insurance money by the death of loved ones—had lived in several Southwestern states during their 12 years as fugitives and used several aliases. "I'm just glad that they've been found," says a 63-year-old woman who considered the Hallahans friends before they ripped her off for $15,000. "We may or may not see our money, but at least I feel like there's a little bit of restitution."

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