U.S. Marshals Service says a man who appeared in video footage of a 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers game only bears a “strong resemblance” to John Ruffo and is not the most-wanted criminal himself.
The Marshals Service previously said Ruffo, a fugitive who has been on the most-wanted list for 23 years, might have been seen the baseball game. Ruffo was convicted in one of the largest bank fraud scams in American history.
But on Thursday, authorities ruled out a Ruffo sighting after receiving new information.
“In response to recent widespread media coverage, a tipster came forward and provided credible information as to the identity of the Dodgers game attendee,” the U.S. In a press release, Marshals stated that they had received the information from the tipster. “The tipster and family members were fully cooperative with law enforcement and provided detailed information regarding the attendee.”
Multiple reports claim that officials verified the identity and fingerprints of the man who was at the game to confirm his identity.
Earlier this week, the Marshals Service issued a press release saying that it was “asking for the public’s assistance to identify a 2016 Dodgers game attendee who investigators say strongly resembles a 15 Most Wanted fugitive who has been on the run since November 1998.” The Marshals Service also offered a reward up to $25,000
Footage from the baseball game, which took place on Aug. 5, 2016, shows a man who fits Ruffo’s description seated behind home plate.
The Marshals Service released an image that zeroed in on the man at the baseball game, as well as a rendering of what Ruffo “may look like today.”
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Ruffo, who is now 66, was convicted in 1998. Ruffo and his accomplices bribed banks to fund a false research project that they claimed was about a tobacco firm. Ruffo stole approximately $13million. It was never found.
Although he was sentenced for more than 17 years, he was released on bail after his conviction. It is thought that he fled to New York via an airport rather than reporting to New Jersey’s federal prison.
U.S. Marshals said in a statement earlier this week they “have pursued hundreds of leads across the country and around the world in search of Ruffo.” They also noted that Ruffo “has been called a master manipulator.”
Contributing: Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY