Girlfriend of Wanted Hedge Fund Cheat Arrested

The live-in girlfriend of fugitive hedge fund trader Sam Israel was arrested Thursday for aiding him in staging a suicide ruse and assisting him in his flight from a 20 year prison sentence, according to a federal complaint unsealed in New York.

Israel's sentence was meted out by a federal judge in April after he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in his Bayou fund of more than $400 million dollars.

According to the complaint, Debra Ryan, after repeatedly denying any knowledge of Israel's whereabouts admitted to federal Marshal's today that on Sunday June 8th she had helped the fugitive financier attach a motor scooter to the back of his RV and then helped him pack the RV with his belongings.


On Monday June 9th, Ryan said, according to the complaint, that Israel "woke her up and told her that he needed her help." Then Israel drove the RV to a rest area en route to the bridge, Ryan followed in her own car, according to the complaint. She then drove Israel back to their home.

Then later that day, Israel's 2006 GM Envoy was found at New York's Bear Mountain Bridge with the words "Suicide is Painless," from the M.A.S.H TV show scrawled on the hood.

But when questioned by the New York State Police and other authorities Ryan denied knowing anything about Israel's disappearance. "On numerous occasions...the defendant ... denied any knowledge of Israel's whereabouts," according to the complaint.

In fact, on Tuesday June 10th she informed the New York State Police she had located a suicide note written by Israel. She then turned that note over to authorities.

Ryan is the second person linked to Israel's escape scheme. The first is a man described by authorities as a friend, whose car was recorded by a surveillance camera as it idled on the Hudson River bridge next to Israel's. According to authorities, the person, who has not been charged, appeared to be a willing accomplice of Israel's.

Federal officials said that Ryan was released on a $75,000 bond, with the requirement that an additional co-signer be produced by Monday, June 23rd. Authorities said that Ryan also will be under pre-trial supervision, and her travel will be restricted to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of Connecticut. If convicted, Ryan faces a maximum sentence of years behind bars.

At Israel's sentence US District Judge Colleen McMahon said, "You were, in every meaning of the sense, a career criminal. You ruined lives. Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely."

Lawyers for Israel had sought leniency, noting he's had numerous back operations and is addicted to painkillers.

The judge had no compassion in her voice when she said, "He suffered from these ailments while he did the crime. He can deal with them while he does the time."

Israel, following his sentence, then was released on his own recognizance, and expected to report to federal prison on the day of his disappearance. He is still on the lam.