A fraudster who has been on the run for 23 years may have been spotted in the stands at a Dodgers game, the U.S. Marshals Service says.
The agency on Tuesday released a fuzzy image of a spectator bearing a resemblance to John Ruffo, who disappeared in 1998 on the day he was supposed to begin a 17-year prison sentence in New York.
His flight meant his wife, his mother and other family members lost their homes, which had been used to secure his $10 million bond.
Piggybacking on the attention from a recent ABC News podcast about the case, the Marshals Service is seeking public help identifying the man seen at Dodger Stadium in August 2016. The sighting was reported by a television viewer who happened to be Ruffo’s cousin, ABC said.
Carmine Pascale was watching the Dodgers-Red Sox game on television. “They did a close-up of the batter, and there’s Johnny. And I said, ‘Holy Christ, there he is,’” he recalled.
Pascale froze the image on his screen and immediately called the marshals. They tracked down the person who had bought that seat in the Dugout Club, but found that the ticket had changed hands several times.
The marshals’ release says Ruffo, now 66, is 5-foot-5. “He enjoys fine wines, gambling, and nice hotels. He is reportedly lactose-intolerant,” it added.
Ruffo, who is on the marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list, was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme.
Along with the image of the Dodger fan, the agency released an artist’s rendering of what Ruffo might look like now. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered. Anyone with information is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at (800) 336-0102.