COMPUTER salesman John Ruffo defrauded banks out of more than $350 million before becoming one of the FBI’s most wanted men.
The scammer mysteriously disappeared in November 1998 while he was about to serve a 17-year sentence and has not been found.
Cops, family members, and FBI agents have since spent more than two decades searching for Ruffo.
Ruffo’s cousin thought he spotted the impostor in the crowd at a 2016 LA Dodgers game, but it turns out it wasn’t the fugitive.
The fugitive’s disappearance is the subject of the Hulu series Have You Seen This Man?. which airs today – March 24th.
Born into a working-class family in Brooklyn in 1980, Ruffo earned a degree in computer science.
He worked for the New York company Computer Systems LLC before founding his own company, Consolidated Computer Services.
Ruffo then met Edward J. Reiners – a former employee of the Phillip Morris tobacco company.
Reiners was fired and approached Ruffo with an offer that involved obtaining banks.
He and Ruffo would tell Banks they would lead a research program on tobacco alternatives for Phillip Morris.
Ruffo’s computer shop was to supply the PCs for the project, ABC reported.
Seven foreign and domestic banks had loaned the duo more than $350 million. They never got a computer.
How Ruffo invested the money is not known, as his ex-wife Linda Lausten said: “He did not live the lifestyle of a millionaire.”
He tried to make regular interest payments to avoid any suspicion.
But 1996, a Japanese The bank became suspicious of the documents that Reiners had presented.
Reiners was arrested in March this year and police issued an arrest warrant for Ruffo.
Ruffo faced 150 charges of bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy.
The FBI checked them New Yorker pose a flight risk as his bail has been set at a whopping $10 million.
The computer salesman was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Ruffo was last seen on November 9, 1998. He went to court to hand him the electronic tag that he had to wear.
He also dropped his wife Linda off at a train station – that was the last time they ever saw each other.
And that night, CCTV footage caught the scammer withdrawing $600 from an ATM in Queens, New York.
He left his rented Ford Taurus in the long-term parking lot at JFK airport before mysteriously disappearing.
Linda said she received a call from the FBI asking about her husband’s whereabouts.
She said: “They yelled at me. Where is John Ruffo? The blood gushed down my body. My face turned to ice.”
Linda claimed she found a suicide note in their home but was skeptical.
Police believe more than $13 million in stolen money that was never recovered may have contributed to his disappearance.
Ruffo remains missing decades after his disappearance.
Reports circulated that the most wanted criminal may have been spotted at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2016.
His cousin Carmine Pascal was the one who called the police.
But the man in question wasn’t Ruffo, United States today reported.
US Marshals said: “In response to recent widespread media coverage, a tipster came forward and provided credible information as to the identity of the Dodgers game participant.
“The tipster and family members were fully cooperative with law enforcement and provided detailed information about the participant.”
Police officers used fingerprints to identify the man at the Dodgers game.
Ruffo remains at large and the FBI is searching for his whereabouts.
While he was disappearing, his wife and mother were evicted from their homes, which they had given up on his bail.
Linda told NBC she was left with “urgent questions.”
She said: “I want to tell him how much he hurt his mother and everyone else.
“I’d like to ask him, ‘When did you stop loving me? When did money become important enough for you to do this to us?”
Online detectives have speculated about the fugitive’s possible whereabouts while he remains at large.
But Robert Boyce, a former NYPD chief of detectives, claimed the fugitive’s actions were “frowned upon” by the Italian mafia.
There is no evidence that the scammer fled to Italy.
Other theories include claims that the fugitive has meddled in public life or is dead.
In the note Ruffo apparently left for Linda, he said that he had decided to surrender to “God.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/4967523/john-ruffo-fbi-most-wanted-hunt-fugitive/ In the hunt for FBI Most Wanted John Ruffo, who was spotted at a baseball game 23 years after the horrifying last picture