Ohio judge detains until trial fraud suspect captured in Peru

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 29, 2015 4:19 PM

By Kim Palmer

(Reuters) - An Ohio judge on Thursday ordered a fraud suspect who was on the run for a decade after a federal indictment to be detained until trial.

Eric Bartoli, 61, an Ohio resident originally from Peru, had been indicted in 2003 on 10 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and attempted income tax evasion. He fled to Peru, prosecutors said.

The Peruvian National Police took Bartoli into custody in 2013 in Lima and he was extradited to the United States this week, according to prosecutors.

Bartoli pleaded not guilty in federal court before U.S. District Judge John Adams in Akron, Ohio, on Thursday. His next court appearance is on Dec. 22.

Bartoli and his co-conspirators were accused of operating a large-scale Ponzi scheme called Cyprus Funds Inc, based in Ohio from 1995 to 1999. The offshore mutual fund bilked an estimated 800 investors in Latin America and the United States including retirees, according to prosecutors.

"A little over 12 years past the date of indictment, Bartoli's life on the run has come to an end," FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had sued Bartoli, who failed to appear at a 1999 hearing. He was found in contempt of court and a civil arrest warrant was issued, according to federal prosecutors.

Bartoli then fled Ohio. He was arrested in 2000 in New Hampshire where he relinquished his passport but was not detained, prosecutors said. Federal authorities believe that Bartoli later fled to Peru using one of a number of aliases.

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Bartoli allegedly used the majority of the money invested with Cyprus to operate various business entities and to fund a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said.

One of his partners died while the federal case was pending and two other Ohio men served short prison sentences for their roles in the fraud, according to court records.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Eric Beech)