ESTATE


Go on take the $ and run
2009/02/12, 3:27 pm
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California mortgage fraud fugitive caught with $70,000 in shoes
By Don Thompson, Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO — An international fugitive in a $100 million mortgage fraud scheme has been caught at the Canadian border with $1 million in Swiss bank certificates and $70,000 stuffed in his shoes, authorities said Wednesday.
Christopher J. Warren also was carrying four ounces of platinum valued at more than $1,000 an ounce when he was arrested while re-entering the United States at Buffalo, before midnight Tuesday.

Warren is the second of three fugitives to be caught in the ongoing investigation of Loomis Wealth Solutions, a Roseville, Calif.-based investment company, and several related companies.

Court documents say they defrauded investors and mortgage companies of $100 million since 2006. The fraudulent deals involved 500 homes and condominiums in California, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado and Arizona, according to Internal Revenue Service affidavits.

Until last week, the 27-year-old Sacramento man had been cooperating with investigators.

But Warren abruptly chartered a private jet for $156,000 to take him to Ireland, acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown said Wednesday.

He then traveled to Lebanon and Toronto, Canada, before he was caught late Tuesday. He was carrying two fake passports in the name of Anthony Kim, Brown said. Authorities previously said he had obtained a passport in the name of Mark A. Seagrave and indicated he planned to go to Mexico.

Warren flew to Ireland Feb. 3 after posting a document on the Internet in which he blamed himself and his colleagues for helping cause the nation’s financial meltdown by creating hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent mortgages that went bad.

A day later, Warren flew to Lebanon, Brown said. Lebanese police searched his hotel room and seized some of his belongings, but by then Warren was gone.

He flew to Toronto, then took a late-night taxi to the border at Buffalo. Immigration officials were on the lookout for him and made the arrest.

After he fled, prosecutors charged him with conspiracy, fraud and conducting a continuing financial crime, which could bring him a life prison sentence.

He is expected to have an initial court appearance in New York on Wednesday, Brown said.

Don Heller, Warren’s lawyer, was not immediately available for comment.

On Tuesday, authorities announced that a second suspect in the case, Garret Griffith Gililland III, 27, of Chico, had been apprehended in Spain in October. He is fighting extradition to the U.S.

They are still looking for Scott Cavell, 25, of Sacramento, who they say fled the country last week a day after Warren left.

Contributing: Associated Press Writer Carolyn Thompson from Buffalo

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2009-02-11-mortgage-fraud-fugitive_N.htm

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