Alan Abrahams, alias James A. Carr, the elusive con man who slipped out of the hands of federal and state authorities in Boston last week, was captured near Tampa, Fla., early yesterday by the FBI.
Abrahams, 52, wanted in connection with an alleged $50 million commodities options fraud and several earlier parole violations, is a prison escapee from New Jersey. His series of brushes with the law and escapes from several near-captures have appeared on the front papers of newspapers across the country in recent days.
Yesterdays capture came after a classic bit of detective work by the FBI.According to Joe Yablonsky, an FBI agent in Boston supervising the investigation, the first tip on Abraham's whereabouts came when an agent was checking names of people renting cars in Florida the day Abrahams disappeared.
The agent ran across the name of one of Abraham's former employees in the office of Lloyd, Carr & Co., the commodities options firm that Abrahams headed for the past 18 months.
But instead of returning the car to the Tampa airport, Abrahams called the rental agency nine days later and told them that the car was in their lot, and the payment was on the front seat. An employee of the agency, Hertz, went to the car and found two $50 bills on the seat.
Using the fact that the car had been driven 980 miles in the nine days, the FBI began a search of area motels and hotels. The FBI also assumed that Abrahams had with him his wife, Lynn Heinsius Carr, 24, their daughter, Artis, 16 months, and two of Abrariage, Laurie Abrahams, 17, and Alliham's daughters by a previous marson Abrahams, 15.
They found a family that matched the description at the Innisbrook, a fashionable resort villa in Tarpon Springs, 20 miles north of Tampa.
The FBI then surrounded the $130-a-night three-bedroom suite that was being occupied by a man who called himself James Barett of Providence, Rhode Island.
After calling the room, and annoucing that the room was surrounded, the FBI told Abrahams to surrender. He was arrested at the door, with $800 in his pockets. He apparently offered no resistance, and according to the FBI, admitted his identity under questioning. His family was with him.
According to Yablonsky, "It was a very emotional scene, there were lots of tears."
Abrahams left Boston more than a week ago, running out on $100,000 bond he had paid after his arrest, with several officers of Lloyd, Carr & Co., amid charges that the company had fraudulantly taken up to $50 million from thousands of unsuspecting investors around the country.
After he made bail, an FBI fingerprint check revealed that James A. Carr was actually Alan Abrahams, an escaped felon from New Jersey who also was wanted for parole violation in his native New York City.
But Abrahams was already out of town, and it was later determined that he had transfered more than $3 million from Lloyd, Carr company bank accounts in Boston, through St. Louis and New York banks, into his personnal bank accounts in Bermuda and Canada.
While there was speculation that Abrahams had fled to Bermuda, Yablonsky said he discounted that in his investigation, because of the passport problems he might have getting an entire family out of the country.
Abrahams owns a motel in Cocoa Beach, Fla., which gave the FBI a lead in their search.
Since his arrest and detainment without bail, several jurisdictions are lining up to bring him to court.
Abraham's attorney, F. Lee Bailey, flew to Tampa yesterday in his private plane to begin formulating a defense for his client.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tampa, Tony Laspada, New York will have the first crack at Abra-[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Abrahams went before U.S. Magistrate Paul Game Jr., in Tampa, who remanded him to the U.S. marshal there and ordered that he be returned to New York to face a hearing on his probation violation.
A federal receiver in Boston, who was placed in charge of Lloyd, Carr's and Abrahams' assets early last week is still trying to establish what happened to an estimated $50 million that was reportedly collected from Llyod, Carr customers.
The Washington Post learned late yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service has presented the receiver with a list of 50 bank accounts that Lloyd, Carr or Abrahams had in banks in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.
Lloyd, Carr Co. battled the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in courts for more than a year in an attempt to thwart the agency's efforts to close the firm down. The company operated 11 offices around the country, in addition to the Boston headquarters, according to the CFTC.
Abraham is wanted in Boston, New Jersey and Michigan, besides New York. Because of his history of bail jumping - including an incident where he reportedly talked the U.S. Consul in Bermuda into posting bail for him there after he was arrested on a fugitive warrent from New Jersey - bail was denied Abrahams in Tampa.
While Abrahams is being held in the Hillsborough County Jail, U.S. attorneys from three jurisdictions are huddling to plan their prosecutorial strategy.
Abraham's attorney, Bailey, would not comment on how his fee had been paid, but his assistant, Tony Cardenalli, said the arrangement for payment by Abrahams were made prior to the initial court procedings in Boston.
"If we had known it was going to turn out like this we would have upped the fee," Cardenalli said.