- The U.S. Marshals Service is asking for the assistance of the global community
to help bring a 15 Most Wanted fugitive to justice.
John Ruffo, now 65, was convicted of a
$350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s and sentenced to 17
½ years in prison. Approximately $13 million of the money has not
After his 1998 conviction for his role in one
of the largest bank fraud scams in American history, Ruffo was
continued on a $10 million bond and ordered to report to a federal
prison in New Jersey on Nov. 9, 1998, to begin serving his 210-month
sentence. Ruffo never showed, an arrest warrant was issued the next
day, and U.S. Marshals quickly uncovered his last known tracks.
Investigation revealed that on Nov. 9, 1998, a rental car driven
by Ruffo arrived at the long-term parking lot at John F. Kennedy
Airport. Ruffo is believed to have rented the car earlier in the day
in Manhattan. He also withdrew money from an ATM on the way to JFK
Ruffo withdraws money from an ATM, Nov. 9, 1998
Ruffo departs after cash withdrawal.
Since 1998, U.S. Marshals have pursued hundreds of leads across the
country and around the world. While there have been numerous reported sightings,
the ATM photograph of Ruffo from Nov. 9, 1998, is the last confirmed sighting of
“He slipped away nearly 22 years ago, but the world is a lot
smaller today than when Ruffo fled,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald
Washington. “While it remains possible that he is in the United States, we
strongly believe that John Ruffo is living overseas, likely in Europe, the
Caribbean, or Central or South America. It only takes one tip for us to catch up
with Ruffo. By now, he is likely well established and comfortable in whatever
alias he is living under. He could be anywhere on the globe.”
known to have extensive international connections through his time as a New York
businessman. He had previously traveled to Aruba and was known to show
particular interest in Italy, where he has also traveled in the past.
“The public is by far our greatest resource,” said Nick Proffitt, U.S. Marshal
for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are asking for your assistance to get
this fugitive’s photo out there so we can bring him in together. He has been on
our 15 Most Wanted list for 20 years, and it is time for John Ruffo to pay his
debt to society.”
Ruffo stands 5 feet 5 inches and in 1998 weighed
approximately 170 pounds. He is known to be computer savvy and enjoys fine
wines, gambling, and nice hotels. He is reportedly lactose intolerant. Ruffo was
known to be a storyteller, someone who liked to stretch the truth, and had a
desire to impress others. He has been called a master manipulator.
the strong international ties and likelihood that Ruffo is living overseas,
wanted posters have been translated into seven languages:
age-progression rendering reveals what Ruffo may look like today.
A reward of up to
$25,000 is offered for information leading
directly to Ruffo’s arrest. Anyone with information is urged to
contact the nearest
USMS District Office, the
U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102,
or submit a tip using USMS Tips.
Additional information about the U.S.
Marshals Service can be found at
America’s First Federal Law Enforcement Agency