After 20+ Years on the Run, Missing Fugitive Still Wanted

After 15 Years on the Run, Missing Fugitive Still Wanted

( – Convicted fraudster John Ruffo was scheduled to turn himself in to prison officials in November 1998 but never arrived. Ruffo, a former computer salesman from Brooklyn, faced a 17-year sentence after being convicted of pulling off a bizarre bank scandal involving more than $350 million. Here’s what happened.

After teaming up with a former Philip Morris tobacco company executive, Ruffo created a false story that the two men were working together on a project to create smokeless cigarettes. His computer firm was supplying the computers for the project and his partner was supplying the expertise regarding cigarettes.

Several banks bought their story and provided funding for the project. However, it was all a ruse. Ruffo invested the money, thinking he could later pay back the loans and pocket any profits. However, as it turned out, Ruffo wasn’t a very savvy investor, and he and his partner ended up getting arrested after defaulting on their loans, paving the way for his eventual conviction and escape from justice.

Unfortunately, news reports indicate that Ruffo’s family has suffered the worst from the ordeal. Six family members lost their houses after using them as collateral to secure his $10 million bail.

Deputy Marshals Chris Leuer and Danielle Shimchick, have been assigned to find and follow Ruffo’s trail. The US Marshals noted that Ruffo’s ability to hide for so long is likely aided by his average-Joe appearance and $13 million in ill-gotten cash that was never recovered.

How much longer can Ruffo remain hidden? Is he even still alive? We may never know.

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