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Hedge funds manager's girlfriend pleads guilty to helping him flee

  • Story Highlights
  • Samuel Israel led people to believe he committed suicide before reporting to prison
  • Hedge fund manager was convicted of swindling investors out of $450 million
  • Debra Ryan admitted helping boyfriend pack RV and flee
  • Judge indicated she will probably face about four to 10 months in prison
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The girlfriend of a convicted hedge fund manager who disappeared last year, leading to speculation that he had committed suicide rather than report to prison, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping him, according to federal prosecutors.

Debra Ryan pleaded guilty to "aiding and abetting Samuel Israel III's failure to surrender to serve his sentence on June 8, 2008," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

With the guilty plea, she avoids a trial but still faces up to 10 years in prison. But the judge indicated Tuesday that she will most likely face about four to 10 months in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 22. She is currently out on bail.

Israel was supposed to report to a Massachusetts prison in June to serve a 20-year sentence for defrauding investors of the hedge fund Bayou Management out of approximately $450 million. His SUV was found a day after he was due to surrender on a bridge in upstate New York, with the words "suicide is painless" written in the dust on the hood.

Ryan, who lived with Israel in Armonk, New York, was arrested 10 days after Israel went missing. She admitted to federal investigators that she helped him pack an RV with his belongings before he disappeared.

Israel turned himself in to authorities in Southwick, Massachusetts, in July.

He is currently undergoing mental and physical evaluations at a prison facility in Massachusetts, and, contingent upon the results, he is tentatively scheduled back in court February 27, federal prosecutors said.

He is expected to plead guilty to fleeing charges and could face 10 years in addition to his 20 year sentence for defrauding investors, according to prosecutors.

CNN's Laura Batchelor, Carol Cratty, Aurore Ankarcrona and Kristen Hamill contributed to this report.

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