US authorities have arrested a German sought for five years over a pyramid scheme that topped $100 million. The charges against Ulrich E. carry up to 20 years in prison.
After Marshals learned that a fingerprint from a 51-year-old arrested for drunken driving in 2011 belonged to E., they joined police to arrest him, according to the Las Vegas PD. The former fugitive, who is accused of also using the names Joseph Miller and Joseph Walter, is being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on an immigration violation pending his transfer to Germany, an ICE spokeswoman said.
ICE Director John Morton said that his capture "after five years on the run is a welcome day and an important step in addressing a fraud in excess of $100 million."
E. is wanted in Germany on multiple criminal charges stemming from the pyramid fraud allegedly perpetrated from June 2003 to December 2004 through a financial firm he set up in Cape Coral, Florida. Those charges were filed against him in Mannheim and Hamburg in 2007. E. had also been named in a March 2010 Interpol notice.
He allegedly used the Internet to lure in investors from Austria, Germany and Switzerland with false claims that he traded in shares and security through his investment company, Private Commercial Office, according to ICE. Investors placed just under $101 million (82 million euros) with E.'s company and then, according to ICE, had no way of accessing the money.
mkg/ng (AFP, AP)
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