The Seattle Times reports that Frederick Darren Berg, a Seattle man who ran the state's biggest ever Ponzi scheme and defrauded investors of over $100 million, has escaped from prison.
From the Times' Mike Carter:
A deputy supervisor in the marshals office in Fresno, Calif., confirmed that Berg, 55, of Mercer Island, is a fugitive after walking away from a work camp at the U.S. Penitentiary at Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon. The supervisor declined to give his name, saying he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Berg is listed as “escaped” on the Bureau of Prison’s Inmate Locator site.
A news release from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said Berg was discovered missing around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday from a 130-inmate, minimum-security work camp adjacent to the Atwater penitentiary, which is a maximum-security facility in Central California that holds about 1,200 male inmates. The BOP said an internal investigation was underway, and declined additional comment.
After pleading guilty in 2012, Berg was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. “I just want you to know that I didn’t mean initially to do this,” Berg told his victims, which included his friends, at his sentencing. “In the end, I did it consciously and, yes, I knew what I was doing and, no, I didn’t act alone. And there will come a time, I hope, where we discuss that.”
Authorities say Berg used his ill-gotten proceeds to purchase, among other things, a $5.475 million home on Mercer Island, which he spent another $5 million on to remodel. Berg also had a condo in Seattle, as well as multiple homes in California, two Lear jets, several yachts, and a failed bus line that he spent $45 million on. And now he's escaped. IF YOU SEE THIS MAN: Do not give him your money.