Bridge 'Suicide' Ruled Fugitive

Hedge fund founder on the lam: marshals
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 3:57 AM CDT
Samuel Israel III, the founder of Bayou hedge fund, leaves federal court in White Plains, N.Y. after pleading guilty to conspiracy and fraud.    (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)
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(Newser) – A New York hedge fund manager who bilked investors out of $400 million has been declared a fugitive by federal authorities, reports Bloomberg. "Suicide has been ruled out,'' said a spokesman for the US Marshals Service. Samuel Israel disappeared the day he was scheduled to begin a 20-year sentence last week. His car was found on a bridge over the Hudson River, with "suicide is painless" scrawled in the dust on the windshield.

No corpse has been found, and video cameras on the bridge didn't show anyone jumping at the time the car was abandoned, the Journal News reports. What they did show was another car slowing down behind Israel's SUV when it stopped on the bridge; police are said to be questioning the driver, who might have helped the fugitive escape. Israel co-founded the bankrupt hedge fund firm Bayou Group LLC and manipulated the failing firm's books to make it appear profitable to entice investors.