Dodgers fan may be wanted fugitive for one of Americas biggest bank fraud schemes, US Marshals say – SFGate

Baseball fans are excitedly anticipating the start of a star-studded NLDS matchup between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, who are facing off in the postseason for the first time ever. But the eyes of the law won’t be on the field — they’ll be closely examining the stands.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service released a peculiar press release involving one apparent Dodgers fan. 

“U.S. Marshals Seek Public’s Help to ID Dodgers Game Attendee Who Resembles a Most Wanted Fraudster,” the release reads

Indeed, the U.S. Marshals Service is attempting to track down a man who attended a Dodgers-Red Sox game Aug. 5, 2016. The man, who sat four rows behind home plate wearing a blue shirt, “strongly resembles” a “15 Most Wanted fugitive” by the name of John Ruffo, authorities said.

A man in a blue shirt at a 2016 Red Sox-Giants game who closely resembles fugitive John Ruffo, the U.S. Marshals Service said. 

A man in a blue shirt at a 2016 Red Sox-Giants game who closely resembles fugitive John Ruffo, the U.S. Marshals Service said. 

U.S. Marshals

Ruffo has been on the run since 1998 after he was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s — one of the largest such schemes in American history, the Marshals Service statement said. He was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison, the Marshals Service said, also noting that about $13 million of the money has yet to be recovered. 

The Marshals Service said investigators received a tip in September 2016 stating that Ruffo had attended the Aug. 5 game in question.

“A video clip from the game confirms a white balding male with a mustache, wearing a blue shirt, seated several rows behind home plate,” the release said.

A photo of John Ruffo. 

A photo of John Ruffo. 

U.S. Marshals

Investigators determined the man sat in Section 1 Dugout Club, Row EE, seat 10. They were able to track down the individual who purchased the tickets but have not confirmed the identity of the blue-shirted man, the release said. 

After his conviction, Ruffo was released on a $10 million bond and ordered to report to a federal prison on Nov. 9, 1998, but he never showed. An arrest warrant was issued the following day.

Ruffo’s last confirmed sighting was in 1998, when he withdrew cash from an ATM on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. 

Security camera footage shows John Ruffo at an ATM in New York City in 1998.

Security camera footage shows John Ruffo at an ATM in New York City in 1998.

U.S. Marshals

The Marshals Service said it has followed hundreds of leads across the country and the world to track down Ruffo, who continues to evade capture. 

In 1998, Ruffo stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds, the release said. 

The press release offers some indelible details about his interests: “He is known to be computer savvy and enjoys fine wines, gambling, and nice hotels. He is reportedly lactose-intolerant.”

The release also noted that Ruffo “was known to be a storyteller. … He has been called a master manipulator.” 

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading directly to Ruffo’s capture. The Marshals Service asks those with information to contact their nearest U.S. Marshals Service district office, the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102 or to submit a tip online.