James Cameron tried to finance flight with phony checks, documents show

Posted Feb. 28, 2013, at 7 p.m.
James Cameron
U.S. Marshals Service
James Cameron

PORTLAND, Maine — A former top drug prosecutor for the state who was convicted of downloading child pornography attempted to finance his flight from Maine to New Mexico by printing fraudulent checks for $74,000 using an insurance company’s account, documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court revealed.

James Cameron, 50, of Rome was apprehended Dec. 2 in Albuquerque, N.M., after more than two weeks on the run.

On Feb. 19, he pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland to one count of contempt of court. By pleading guilty, Cameron admitted that he cut off his ankle bracelet Nov. 15 and fled the state, less than 24 hours after he learned the appellate court in Boston had upheld seven of the 13 counts on which he was convicted.

Details about how U.S. marshals tracked Cameron to New Mexico were unknown until Thursday when an affidavit seeking a warrant to search the computer, printing equipment, checks and other items found in Cameron’s 1999 tan Audi station wagon was made available through the federal court’s electronic case filing system.

On Nov. 27, investigators received information from Farmers Insurance that a check with accurate account and routing numbers for one of its companies, Foremost Insurance Co., had passed through Chase Bank on Nov. 23, the affidavit said. The check for $42,000 was payable to James Cameron through his company which sold specialty watches over the Internet. It could not be determined where the check was deposited and a hold was placed on the check, according to the affidavit.

The Maine State Credit Union, where Cameron had an account, also notified marshals on Nov. 27 that it had received a check for $32,000 by mail for deposit into his account purported to be from the same insurance firm, the affidavit said.

On Nov. 28, Cameron’s credit union ATM card was swiped in or near Phoenix, according to the affidavit. It was swiped again at 7:42 p.m. EST Nov. 29 in Buckeye, Ariz., and again that same day at 11:42 p.m. at a gas station in Munds Park, Ariz.

Cameron used his ATM card on Nov. 8, a week before his flight, to purchase $79 worth of products from Advantage Laser Products, which sells blank check paper and pre-printed checks, according to the affidavit.

“Agents in Maine therefore suspect that Cameron made this purchase in the furtherance of his scheme to pass fraudulent Foremost checks,” the affidavit said.

Although the affidavit described Cameron’s actions as “bank fraud,” he has not been charged with a crime in connection with the fraudulent checks.

Cameron is being held without bail at the Stafford County Jail in Dover, N.H., awaiting sentencing on the contempt of court charge and the remaining child pornography charges. The New Hampshire facility is one of several jails the U.S. Marshals Service in Maine uses to board prisoners because there is no federal detention facility in Maine.

Federal prosecutors will not retry Cameron on the six counts set aside by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision, according to a previously published report.

On the contempt charge, Cameron faces up to life in the prison. On the remaining child pornography counts, he faces a minimum of five and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the receiving and transporting child pornography counts. On the possession of child pornography count, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Sentencing dates have not been set.

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