PORTLAND, Maine — A man wanted in Florida in connection with a $1.25 billion investment fraud case made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court after being arrested by U.S. marshals earlier in the day at his $2.56 million vacation home in Camden.
Henry Fecker III, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III in U.S. District Court.
Rich set bail at $500,000 in property and-or securities or $50,000 cash.
Fecker is charged with 31 counts of money laundering, conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, obstruction of proceedings before the Securities and Exchange Commission and two counts of concealment and cover-up of records in a federal investigation.
He was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury in Miami, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff, whose office is in Portland.
Fecker was expected to be held at the Cumberland County Jail until he was able to post bail. If released, he would be responsible for getting to Florida on his own for future court appearances, Wolff said.
Bail conditions include electronic monitoring home detention at his home in Fort Lauderdale and a prohibition on selling any items valued at more than $500 without the approval of U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services in Miami.
Fecker’s life partner, Steven Steiner, was indicted in federal court in Miami in late 2008 along with three other men who were involved in a now-defunct insurance company that federal prosecutors have said bilked 28,000 investors out of $837 million of the $1.25 billion Mutual Benefits Corp. raised between 1995 and 2004.
The company lured thousands of investors worldwide into buying dubious life insurance policies held mostly in the names of people dying of AIDS, according to an article published in May in The Miami Herald.
According to documents on file in federal court in Miami, Fecker and Steiner bought a vacation home in 2002 at 1 Norumbega Drive in Camden with the illegal proceeds from the scheme. The home is assessed by Camden at $2.56 million, according to information on the town’s website.
Court documents have been filed in Miami to prevent it from being sold. If Fecker and Steiner are convicted, the property most likely would be forfeited to the U.S. Department of Justice and auctioned off.
If convicted, Fecker faces up to 20 years in prison on the money laundering charges.
His arraignment in Miami has not been set.