Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Federal judge won't free Arthur Nadel from custody in Pinellas

Arthur Nadel is in federal custody in Pinellas County. He’s expected to be tried in New York.

Arthur Nadel is in federal custody in Pinellas County. He’s expected to be tried in New York.

TAMPA — Arthur G. Nadel, the 76-year-old hedge fund investor from Sarasota, poses a flight risk too large to release him from federal custody.

That's what U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo decided Friday after hearing 3 1/2 hours of legal arguments.

A federal criminal complaint filed in New York accuses Nadel of deceiving more than 100 investors across the United States, exaggerating the value of their investments by almost $300 million. He is also charged with wire fraud, citing $1.25 million of transfers to secret accounts.

Pizzo said there is no condition under which he would feel assured that Nadel would show for his trial, expected to be in New York, if he were released.

"I find so much unexplained here … that these hidden assets or unexplained assets show a significant chance that you will flee," Pizzo said.

Attorneys on both sides cited the case of Bernard Madoff, the high-profile hedge fund investor from Palm Beach who is accused of operating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Defense attorneys noted that even Madoff was granted house arrest. But prosecutors highlighted his strict bail requirement: Madoff had to post a $10 million secured bond.

Pizzo said that if he were going to entertain a bond for Nadel, it would start at $5 million But ultimately, he refused any bond at all.

Nadel was reported missing Jan. 14 after his wife found a letter telling her he thought people wanted to kill him and he intended to kill himself.

Federal prosecutor Terry Zitek told the court Friday that cell phone records indicated sometime during his two-week absence, Nadel might have been in Louisiana. His cell phone stopped being used Jan. 15.

Additionally, authorities say they found a second letter from Nadel to his wife in his office shredder instructing her on how to access accounts in his absence.

But defense attorneys Barry Cohen and Todd Foster painted a different picture of their client: that of a contrite, emotionally troubled, cash-strapped man who, at the end of his life, wants to make things right.

Cohen said he has no money to post bail, let alone pay for a legal defense. The prominent Tampa defense attorney said he is representing Nadel without pay.

When Nadel disappeared, there were no warrants for his arrest. He was distraught and needed to sort through suicidal thoughts, Cohen said.

Six days later, on Jan. 20, Cohen said he spoke to Nadel by phone and encouraged him to talk with a psychiatrist. Four days after that, Nadel flew to Tampa and checked into the Marriott under his own name, Cohen said.

"Where did he fly from?" Pizzo interrupted.

"I don't have that information," Cohen answered.

Cohen said when he met with Nadel on Sunday, his client told him he wanted to check into a mental health facility.

On Monday morning, Nadel went to see Tampa psychiatrist Robert Fernandez, then left to visit his family. Cohen said it was Monday when Nadel's family became concerned that federal authorities were searching for him.

So Cohen contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office and notified them Nadel would be turning himself in Tuesday morning.

"Mr. Nadel is humiliated about this whole experience being locked up in shackles, disgraced before his family," Cohen said.

But Zitek argued that Nadel did nothing to tell anyone he was all right, despite widespread media coverage of his disappearance.

"The letters that were written … very strongly suggest that he had planned this flight in advance," Zitek said. "He left his company, co-workers, everybody high and dry."

Before court adjourned at 5 p.m., Cohen indicated he'd likely file a motion asking the court to reconsider. Pizzo, meanwhile, is expected to enter his order in writing Monday, at which point Nadel could face extradition to New York.

Federal judge won't free Arthur Nadel from custody in Pinellas 01/30/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 1, 2009 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  2. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017

    News

    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion." 

  3. For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Erasmo on the mound again

    Blogs

    Coming off Sunday's 6 1/2-hour, 15-inning marathon win over the Twins, the Rays will have the pitcher who finished that game, Erasmo Ramirez, start tonight's game in Texas, first pitch 8:05 Tampa Bay time.

    Ramirez threw only 12 pitches on Sunday so the Rays decided to let him make his planned start tonight, …

  4. Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honors Memorial Day (w/video)

    Blogs

       Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honored those that served during their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with …

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor.
  5. Authorities release name of Tampa woman killed in Temple Terrace apartment fire

    Fire

    TEMPLE TERRACE — Authorities have released the name of a woman who died in a fire that destroyed a dozen units in an apartment complex here Sunday.

    Firefighters battle an early-morning fire Sunday that claimed the life of 28-year-old Tenecia Renee Brannon and left about 30 others homeless. [Temple Terrace Fire Department]