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Feds: Fugitive Convicted Of 1990s Bank Fraud Scheme May Have Sat Behind Home Plate At 2016 Dodgers-Red Sox Game

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A man who sat behind home plate at Dodgers game against the Red Sox back in 2016 might be a fugitive convicted of bank fraud who has been on the run since 1998.

The U.S. Marshals Service asked for the public's help this week in identifying the man who they say strongly resembles John Ruffo, who was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s. Ruffo had been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, and approximately $13 million of the money was not recovered.

Dodger game fraud fugitive
(credit: U.S. Marshal Service)

Investigators with the U.S. Marshals Service were tipped off that Ruffo attended the Dodgers-Red Sox game on Aug. 5, 2016, and that he was sitting behind home plate about four rows up and wore a blue shirt, according to authorities. Investigators confirmed a balding white man with a mustache in a blue shirt was sitting several rows behind home plate in Section 1 Dugout Club, Row EE, seat 10 by watching video clips of the game. However, even though investigators have identified the person who bought the tickets, the U.S. Marshals Service say they have not been able to identify the man sitting in the seat.

After his conviction, he was ordered to report to a federal prison on Nov. 9, 1998 to serve his 210-month sentence. However, before his sentence began, he was free on $10 million bail, and never showed up to the prison. Investigators say Ruffo was last seen using an ATM in New York in 1998 before arriving at the long-term parking lot at JFK Airport in a rental car.

According to authorities, Ruffo is known to have an extensive international network from his time as a New York businessman and had previously traveled to Aruba and Italy. He was known to be a storyteller prone to stretching the truth, likes to impress others, and has been called a master manipulator.

john ruffo atm age progress
(credit: U.S. Marshal Service)

Ruffo is likely living overseas, so age-progressed images of what Ruffo may look like today have been released on posters translated into seven languages, U.S. Marshals officials said. In 1998, Ruffo was 5-foot-5 and about 170 pounds, lactose intolerant, and had a fondness for fine wine, gambling, and nice hotels. He is said to be computer savvy, according to officials.

A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information that leads to Ruffo's arrest. Anyone with information can contact their nearest U.S. Marshals Service Office, call 877-WANTED2 (877-925-8332), or via USMS Tips.

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