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John Ruffo Documentary

John Ruffo Documentary: “Have you seen this man?” asks ABC News. The news network’s famous Podcast will return for a second season on Wednesday, August 11, with new episodes posted weekly thereafter. This week, Have You Seen This Man? takes you on the global manhunt for scammer John Ruffo, who is now on the “15 Most Wanted” list.

John Ruffo Documentary

The next season’s first trailer heard above, previews Ruffo’s story. The con man, who has been on the run since 1998, bilked banks out of almost $300 million, using the money to become a Wall Street power player before his scheme unraveled. The fascinating six-part podcast tells the story of how a Brooklyn computer salesman pled guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 17 years in jail but failed to turn himself in and was never seen again. Have You Seen This Man? is an ABC News Investigative Unit production. Exec producers are Liz Alesse, Cindy Galli, and Mosk.

ABC News Longform is now producing a four-part Hulu Original limited series about Ruffo’s global manhunt. Did You See Him? is free on major streaming services. Listeners are encouraged to inform the US of Ruffo’s whereabouts. Officers released a photo from that game in 2016. It shows a balding man with a mustache, 4 rows up, wearing a blue shirt. The Dodgers knew the ticket bearer but he had given it away. The case’s primary detectives now believe the public can help them determine if it was really Ruffo at that ballgame.

John Ruffo Seen at a Dodger Game

LOS ANGELES — His last known location was in 1998. He’s wanted by the US Marshals for a $350 million bank fraud conspiracy. It’s over when someone becomes a top 15 fugitive, says US Marshals Investigator Danielle Shimchick. That is the top rank in the Marshals Service.” Last seen on Nov. 9, 1998, at an ATM in Queens, New York. He was set to report to prison for a 17-and-a-half-month term.

John Ruffo Documentary
John Ruffo Documentary

Officers claim he drove a rental car into the long-term parking zone at JFK Airport and vanished. “Our last recording is Ridgeway withdrawing about $600 from an ATM, and we haven’t seen Ruffo since,” adds Shimchick. Ruffo was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud plot in the late 1990s. A total of $13 million was lost. ABC News has been following this story for years and has recorded it in a new podcast series called “Have You Seen This Man?” hosted by Sunny Hostin of “The View”. A Hulu documentary is also in the works. In 2016, US Marshals received a tip that brought them to Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium.

A person resembling Ruffo was seen during a baseball game behind home plate. “It looked like our man,” Shimchick says. His cousin, Carmine Pascale of New Hampshire, saw the familiar-looking individual sitting 4 seats behind home plate while watching the Dodgers-Pink Sox game on TV on Aug. 5, 2016. “I’m watching and they showed a close-up of the batter and there’s Johnny. And I said, “Holy Christ, there he is,” said Pascale, a relative who last saw Ruffo in 1998. “And I was instantaneously the Marshals. I froze the corpse in front of me.”

21-year-old John Ruffo, elusive NYC swindler

A vengeful ex-wife asks, “When did money become so important?” Ruffo arrived at the courthouse to surrender his electronic monitoring bracelet. His next stop was a 17-year sentence in a federal prison in New Jersey. But Ruffo never showed up. That evening, he was a federal fugitive. Ruffo created a trail of destruction in his wake, wiping out previous business partners and evicting family members, including his wife and mother. Ruffo’s location is unknown 20 years later. His whereabouts remain unknown. His ex-wife is still wounded and angry.

John Ruffo Documentary
John Ruffo Documentary

For a year, Linda Lausten said she cried every day. “The tears left a rash on my face.” Lausten’s sobs have been replaced by questions. “I want to confront him.” In the end, he wounded his mother and everyone else. ‘When did you stop loving me? So, what? So you can do this to us because money is so important?’” John Ruffo and Linda Lausten, his ex-wife. The individual who helped Ruffo pull off the scam sees it differently. A phony Philip Morris study project on smokeless cigarettes got Edward Reiners nearly nine years in prison. They’re releasing the image ahead of the Dodgers’ Nationwide League Wild Card game on Wednesday.

Officers said Ruffo has strong global connections and a keen interest in Italy. They think he’s living abroad. $25,000 incentive for information leading to his arrest. “He died. “God bless him,” Reiners said. “He defied the odds.” Even two decades later, the massive deception they perpetrated seemed scripted. In 1993, Ruffo ran a modest midtown Manhattan company that sold and repaired IBM computers. Reiners, a former Philip Morris employee who dealt with Ruffo to get computers for the tobacco company, was arrested.

Reiners claims the couple was confident they could make a fortune on the stock market. One problem: they didn’t have a lot of cash. Banks were a logical pick. With enormous loans, they could make a fortune in stocks, pay back the banks, and pocket the rest. They only needed to persuade banks to loan them millions.

The plan came together over lunch in Manhattan

They would tell banks they were conducting an international tobacco alternative research effort for Phillip Morris that required hundreds of computers and five offshore locations. It was clear to Ruffo and Reiners that they needed to prevent banks from contacting Phillip Morris directly. So they billed it as a top-secret program only a few employees knew about. They even came up with a code name: Project Star. A secrecy agreement prohibited Reiners from discussing the proposal with anybody else, including Phillip Morris officials, when they initially pitched executives at Signet Bank.

John Ruffo Documentary
John Ruffo Documentary

Reiners had previously done business with Signet while still employed for the tobacco company. But there was a catch. The bank required Phillip Morris to sign an incumbency certificate authorizing Reiners to act on behalf of the firm. The document needed a company seal and executive approval. Getting a company stamp was easy. Reiners and Ruffo found a spot in Lower Manhattan that worked perfectly.

But how to secure a firm executive’s signature?

The answer came to them while listening to the radio in a taxi. The men pretended to be from a radio station and informed a Philip Morris executive she had won a free supper at a high-end Manhattan restaurant. They chose Diane McAdams, an assistant corporate secretary, from a list of company officers. McAdams did. She even consented to sign and return a release form. Ruffo and Reiners had their grail with McAdams’ signature.

John Ruffo Dies

One last idea is that Ruffo is deceased and has been missing for 23 years. In a letter to his ex-wife Lausten, which was presented in the documentary, Ruffo stated he had reached his “breaking point.” She stated Ruffo had written that he “had no choice” except to “beat” the authorities and give himself “to God.” Despite the letter’s contents, Lausten said she didn’t think he murdered himself, and US Marshals Service agent Leur stated Ruffo’s assertion he “beat” the feds implied he hadn’t because his death would have meant the reverse.