John Ruffo, now 66, was convicted of a $ 350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s – one of the largest bank fraud scams in American history – and sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison, the U.S. Marshals Service said. About $ 13 million was never recovered.
However, Ruffo failed to report to a federal prison in New Jersey on Nov. 9, 1998, following his conviction. Investigators quickly determined that Ruffo had driven a car, which he was believed to have rented earlier that day in Manhattan, to a long-term parking lot at John F. Kennedy Airport.
Ruffo’s last confirmed sighting was in surveillance footage as he withdrew money from an ATM on his way to the airport.
In September 2016, investigators received a tip that Ruffo attended a major league baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium on Aug. 5, 2016.
The tipster said Ruffo was sitting a few rows up behind home plate and wearing a blue shirt. Investigators reviewed footage from the game and confirmed that a bald, white male with a mustache, and wearing a blue shirt was sitting in Section 1 Dugout Club, Row EE, Seat 10 behind the plate.
While investigators identified those who purchased the seats, they have never been able to identify the man in the blue shirt.
Ruffo stood 5 feet, 5 inches and weighed approximately 170 pounds in 1998. Investigators described Ruffo as computer savvy with a penchant for fine wines, gambling and nice hotels.
“Ruffo was known to be a storyteller, someone who liked to stretch the truth, and had a desire to impress others,” investigators said. “He has been called a master manipulator.”
He is reportedly lactose intolerant and is known to have extensive international connections thanks to his time as a New York businessman.
Ruffo has previously traveled to Aruba and had shown a particular interest in Italy, where he had traveled in the past. Investigators said there is a strong likelihood Ruffo is living overseas.
A reward of up to $ 25,000 is offered for information leading directly to Ruffo’s arrest.