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A fugitive on the U.S. Marshals Service's "15 most wanted" list who has been on the run since 1998 could have been at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in August 2016, and the agency is now asking the public for help in identifying the man behind home plate.
John Ruffo is wanted by the Marshals because of his part in a $350 million bank fraud scam. Ruffo was sentenced to 17-and-a-half years but failed to turn himself in. The last confirmed sighting was Nov. 9, 1998, in Queens, New York, where he withdrew $600 from an ATM. Officials say he then drove to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and no confirmed sightings have been reported since.
The Marshals got a tip in 2016 of a possible sighting during a Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox game on Aug. 5, 2016. The man in question was seated four rows behind home plate. A family member of Ruffo's told the Marshals he saw him at the game on TV.
"I'm watching, and right behind home plate, they did a close-up of the batter, and there's Johnny. And I said, 'Holy Christ, there he is,'" Carmine Pascale, Ruffo's cousin, told ABC-7. "I immediately called the Marshals. I froze the frame, kept it right in front of me."
Ahead of Wednesday night's Dodgers wild-card showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals, the photo from the 2016 game was released by the Marshals, along with a photo of what they expect Ruffo to look like now. Ruffo's case is also the subject of a podcast titled Have You Seen This Man.
Courtesy US Marshals
In the news release, the Marshals call Ruffo a "master manipulator" who liked to impress others.
"He is known to be computer savvy and enjoys fine wines, gambling, and nice hotels," the release said. "Ruffo was known to be a storyteller, someone who liked to stretch the truth."
Officials are asking anyone who has seen Ruffo to send tips via their website or app. People are also encouraged to call in tips to their nearest district office. A $25,000 reward is available to anyone who sends in a tip that leads to his arrest.
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Original Author: Misty Severi