A U.S. fugitive accused in a mortgage fraud scheme was arrested at the U.S.–Canada border with $1 million US in Swiss bank certificates and $70,000 US stuffed in his cowboy boots, authorities said Wednesday.
Christopher J. Warren, 27, also was carrying four ounces of platinum valued at more than $1,000 an ounce when he was arrested re-entering the United States at Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday night, officials said.
Warren is the second of three fugitives to be caught in the investigation of Loomis Wealth Solutions, a Roseville, Calif.-based investment company, and several related companies.
Court documents allege the men defrauded investors and mortgage companies of $100 million US since 2006. The deals involved 500 homes and condominiums in California, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado and Arizona, Internal Revenue Service affidavits said.
Until Warren disappeared on Feb. 3, he had been co-operating with investigators, officials said.
But he then chartered a private jet for $156,000 US to take him to Ireland, according to acting U.S. attorney Lawrence Brown.
Warren traveled to Lebanon and Toronto before he was arrested. He was carrying two fake passports in the name of Anthony Kim, Brown said.
Authorities previously said Warren had obtained a passport in the name of Mark Seagrave and indicated he planned to go to Mexico.
Authorities said Warren fled after posting a document on the internet in which he blamed himself and his colleagues for helping cause the U.S. financial meltdown by creating hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent mortgages that went bad.
He was traced to Lebanon, Brown said. Lebanese police searched his hotel room and seized some of his belongings but Warren was gone by the time they got there.
Authorities believe Warren brought about $4 million to $5 million in gold to Lebanon, but it has not been recovered, Brown said.
After leaving Lebanon, Warren flew to Toronto and took a late-night taxi to the border at Buffalo. U.S. immigration officials were on the lookout for him and made the arrest, Brown said.
Warren has been charged with conspiracy, fraud and conducting a continuing financial crime. He is expected to have an initial court appearance in New York City on Wednesday, Brown said.
Garret Griffith Gililland, 27, of Chico, Calif., was apprehended in Spain in October in connection with the case. He is fighting extradition to the U.S.
U.S. authorities are still looking for Scott Cavell, 25, of Sacramento, who they said fled the country last week.