Skip to main content

Peru nabs scam suspect on FBI most wanted list

By Catherine E. Shoichet and Rafael Romo, CNN
updated 10:11 PM EST, Wed December 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eric Bartoli faces charges of money laundering and fraud in Ohio
  • Peruvian police arrest him while is jogging
  • Bartoli was on the FBI's most wanted list
  • He's accused of operating a $65 million Ponzi scheme

(CNN) -- Police in Peru say they nabbed one of the world's top scam artists on Wednesday when they arrested a securities broker whose alleged crimes earned him a spot on the FBI's most wanted list.

Authorities say Eric Bartoli had been on the lam for more than a decade after bilking hundreds of investors out of millions of dollars.

He faces a number of charges, the FBI says, including money laundering, securities fraud and conspiracy in connection with an alleged $65 million Ponzi scheme.

His case was featured on the CNBC series "American Greed: The Fugitives" in an episode titled "Main Street Double Cross," which detailed authorities efforts to find Bartoli.

"They track him to Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont. They're just hopping around," a promo posted on the show's website says. "And then at some point, he did disappear. Nobody could find him."

Bartoli, 59, who also has several aliases and passports from Peru and Argentina, had been at large for more than 10 years.

But police in Peru tracked him down on Wednesday in what the FBI told CNN Cleveland affiliate WOIO was a joint operation between U.S. and Peruvian authorities.

They escorted a tight-lipped Bartoli, wearing a track suit and a bulletproof vest, before television cameras.

Authorities arrested him when he was jogging in a park south of the country's capital Wednesday morning, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

"A team of Cleveland and international FBI resources worked closely with the Peruvian authorities to locate and apprehend Eric Bartoli," Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland Field Office, said in a written statement. "We hope that the long awaited prosecution of Bartoli will provide some satisfaction to the many individuals he defrauded."

U.S. authorities have requested his extradition, Andina said.

But a court in Lima had also issued an arrest warrant for him, accusing Bartoli of money laundering, Peruvian National Police Col. Oscar Llatas told CNN en EspaƱol.

Investigators in Peru uncovered a series of shell companies tied to Bartoli that moved massive quantities of money, Police Col. Segundo Mejia said.

In Peru, Llatas told Andina, Bartoli allegedly duped victims by offering them large returns on investments in oil, telecommunications and craft companies. He started to operate in Peru in 2005, Llatas said, and intelligence reports indicate he entered the South American nation in 2010.

"Once he got money from his victims," Llatas said, "he disappeared."

Journalist Maria Elena Belaunde and CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes: Evil is the strongest word we have to prepare ourselves to kill others.
updated 9:59 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
As protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teen calmed down, the question remains: Where's the police officer who pulled the trigger?
updated 5:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister: Getting rid of ISIS will be tougher than taking on al Qaeda.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
American patients infected with Ebola are being released from the hospital. What now?
updated 6:48 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
One of the first observers at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine describes the harrowing scene.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid gestures during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium on August 12, 2014 Cardiff, Wales.
"We are like one grain of sand against a whole beach," says Eibar fan Unai Eraso.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 6:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
From fierce protests in Ferguson, to an Ebola survivor discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, browse through the photos of the week.
ADVERTISEMENT