By Karen Gullo and David Watts Barton, Bloomberg, Feb. 12, 2009
Christopher Warren, a Californian who fled to Ireland and Lebanon, was arrested in connection with
a $100 million Ponzi scheme involving mortgage fraud, U.S. prosecutors said.
Warren, 26, had $70,000 cash hidden in his shoes and four ounces of platinum when he was arrested Feb. 10 while attempting to cross from Canada into Buffalo, New York, said acting Sacramento, California, U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Warren had been cooperating with federal authorities investigating a mortgage-fraud scheme involving brokers using straw buyers and submitting false data on loan applications to receive kickbacks and commissions. More than 500 properties were mortgaged, many of them now in foreclosure, prosecutors said.
“He left for reasons unknown to me,” Don Heller, Warren’s attorney, said yesterday in a phone interview. “It’s something he’s going to have to deal with.”
Warren, of Sacramento, fled the country Feb. 2 on a private jet to Ireland and then to Lebanon, prosecutors said in their statement. Warren was charged Feb. 5 with bank and mail fraud.
The case is U.S. v. Christopher Warren, 09-46, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).