Did Crooked Executive Fake Suicide?

Abandoned car found on a bridge, but investors remain skeptical.

By SHARE

Although a financial fraudster reportedly left his car on a bridge with the words "Suicide is Painless" written in dust on the vehicle, police and investors aren't convinced he took his own life.

Why? Because the swindler—Bayou hedge fund cofounder Samuel Israel III—was recently sentenced to a 20-year prison term for fraud and conspiracy. He was scheduled to begin serving the sentence Monday, the same day his abandoned car was found.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Israel's disappearance, and the circumstances at Bear Mountain Bridge, fueled speculation among some Bayou investors that Mr. Israel had staged his own death and is on the run. "I believe he's dead as far as I can throw him," said Lee Hennessee, who runs the Hennessee Group, a New York investment adviser whose clients were among the investors who lost big money when Bayou abruptly shut down in 2005.

State police and the FBI are reportedly on the hunt for Israel. From the Associated Press:

State police investigator Bruce Cuccia said no one's rushing to conclusions. "It looks like it could be either a suicide or a staged suicide, a fake suicide," he said. "Without a body, we don't have conclusive evidence either way." He said no one saw a jumper.

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