Everyone knows that when you can’t go with the first choice of ‘being innocent to begin with’, then ‘faking your own death’ is the second best way to avoid jail time.

Samuel Israel III, a hedge fund manager who was convicted of fraud, faked his own death last week.

U.S. Marshals confirmed yesterday that Samuel Israel was not dead, but on the run from the law after authorities found his abandoned car near a bridge on the Hudson River. The car had a note scrawled in dirt on the windshield that said ‘Suicide is painless.’ I thought people only wrote notes like that saying, ‘Wash me’, or ‘This car’s owner is a loser’ or the always-popular cartoon phallus?

But nobody was buying the note. Another inaccuracy in Israel’s plan – Jumping off a bridge into the Hudson River probably wouldn’t be painless anyway. Depending on the height, there’s a good chance you’d survive the fall but suffer horrendously immobilizing injuries. Then slowly drown to death. Not a very ‘painless’ way to go. He should have made the note say ‘Whoopsies!’. That’s way more believable.

After his body didn’t show up on the shores of the river for over a week, police had enough evidence to announce that it was all a fake suicide plan.

Israel instituted his little scheme exactly one week before he was due to begin serving a 20-year prison sentence in Massachusetts.

According to a Reuters report, the guy sounds like kind of a dick anyway:

In April, Israel was sentenced for fabricating investment returns, making up an accounting firm to sign off on documents and ultimately stealing $450 million from investors, including Indiana’s DePauw University.

He was out on bail to allow time for prison officials to prepare his medication, court documents show.

They let you go home before a big jail sentence while they ‘prepare your medication’? That’s such a cop out! Seriously, you guys gotta tighten up your security a little bit. A crook like this is obviously a flight risk.

The law firm that unsuccessfully defended Israel also represented a client in 2006 who fled the country after being convicted of stock options backdating charges. That fugitive CEO is enjoying the fun and sun in Namibia right now.

Good to see that the law offices of ‘Lose, Escape & Flee’ are getting some great publicity.

Reuters: Missing Fund Manager Not Dead, June 17, 2008

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