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International fugitive accused of defrauding investors of $100 million from Cape office captured in Las Vegas

By Staff | Jul 28, 2012

A German man wanted by law enforcement authorities in Germany for using his Cape Coral based financial firm to defraud numerous investors of more than $100 million in a pyramid scheme was arrested Wednesday night in Las Vegas in a multi-agency effort.

Ulrich Felix Anton Engler, aka Joseph Miller or Joseph Walter, 51, a German national, who was residing and operating a financial firm in the Cape from 2005 to 2007 is the subject of an international warrant issued Dec. 4, 2007 in Mannheim, Germany.

Engler was arrested Wednesday night in Nevada for being in violation of U.S. immigration law by special agents and officers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), the U.S. Marshals Service and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

He is wanted on multiple criminal charges for jointly committing fraud on a repetitive and gainful basis, filed in the local court in Mannheim and Hamburg, Germany, officials said. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

“Mr. Engler’s capture after five years on the run is a welcome day and an important step in addressing a fraud in excess of 100 million dollars,” said ICE Director John Morton in a prepared statement released Friday. “ICE is proud of its efforts to track down criminal fugitives and will do whatever it can to find international scofflaws hiding in the United States. I hope Mr. Engler’s victims in this case feel a measure of relief that Mr. Engler’s fraud and long run are over and that he will soon face justice in Germany for his alleged crimes.”

“Engler’s capture is the result of dedicated law enforcement agencies working together and sharing their unique capabilities,” said Christopher Hoye, U.S. Marshal for the District of Nevada in the statement.

“I commend the tremendous amount of coordination on the apprehension of Ulrich Engler, one of INTERPOL’s most wanted fugitives, by the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Las Vegas Police Department,” stated INTERPOL Washington Director Timothy A. Williams. “INTERPOL Washington played a critical role in facilitating investigative information in this case. This arrest epitomizes what can be achieved when law enforcement officials work together at all levels to accomplish a mission.”

An INTERPOL Red Notice from March 22, 2010 alleges that Engler conducted the scheme from his Florida office from June 2003 to December 2004 and used a marketing company which he had set up utilizing the Internet to defraud numerous investors in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He falsely claimed to trade in shares and other securities in the form of so-called day trading through his company “Private Commercial Office ins” (POC). In total, Engler concluded 3,549 such contracts with investors involving a total sum of $100,896,836.61. The investors suffered damages in the amount of their investment capital. Once they had transferred the money to the United States, they no longer had any possibility to access the money.

At the time the arrest warrant was issued, Engler was believed to have been residing in Florida. His exact whereabouts were unknown. In 2011, the USMS in conjunction with INTERPOL Washington, began to reexamine the case and determined that Engler was perpetuating his fraudulent schemes in Nevada under a completely new identity under the name of Joseph Miller. INTERPOL Washington and USMS requested HSI and ERO’s assistance in locating him as he was unlawfully in the country.

Engler is currently in ERO custody pending removal from the United States to Germany where he will be turned over to law enforcement authorities, officials said.

The investigation and capture was conducted by, and coordinated with, HSI Fort Myers; ERO Las Vegas; ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor; USMS from the District of Nevada; the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; the Nevada Department of Public Safety, and the Nevada Department of Investigations.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)