Foul Ball - John Ruffo Attends a Baseball Game

U.S. Marshals recently reported that a man with a strong resemblance to a John Ruffo was quite visibly present at a Los Angeles Dodgers game, four rows behind home plate, on August 5, 2016.

That may seem like an innocuous sentence, but there’s obviously more to the story.  What does this have to do with Fraud Week you ask? What’s the big deal?  Who’s John Ruffo?  Just a most wanted fugitive who’s evaded the law for almost 23 years, that’s who.

Mr. Ruffo, it turns out, was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s and sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison.  He was to report to a federal prison on November 9, 1998 in New Jersey, but never showed up and is still on the run.  He was last seen in a surveillance video from an ATM in Queens on that day.

Photo Courtesy of CBS Boston

If that part isn’t unusual enough, the actual fraud Mr. Ruffo committed may be even more bizarre.  In 1993, he and a partner devised a scam where they told banks they were leading an international research program on a tobacco alternative for Philip Morris that required the purchase of hundreds of computers and the hiring of staff at five offshore locations.  Even though neither of the men worked for Philip Morris at the time, they convinced seven foreign and domestic banks, with a fake project name, corporate stamp and executive sign-off, to loan them more than $350 million.

The scheme eventually unraveled in 1996 and Mr. Ruffo was indicted on 160 counts of bank fraud and money laundering.  When he subsequently disappeared, one FBI agent believed he may have socked away more than $8 million. 

So remember this on Fraud Week, even the most wanted fraudsters need to get out and see a baseball game occasionally.  But here’s a tip: don’t sit right behind home plate.

If you have any questions or concerns about detecting or deterring fraud, contact Tom Pratt at [email protected] or Brian Webster at [email protected].

This article is part of series highlighting fraud from the professional sporting world in support of  the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's (ACFE) annual International Fraud Awareness Week. We invite you to read our other articles at the links below.

About International Fraud Awareness Week

ACFE's International Fraud Awareness Week is an opportunity for anti-fraud professionals and communities to come together to look at how far reaching the effects of fraud can be. Check out our Schneider Downs Business Consulting LinkedIn page throughout the week for additional information from the ACFE.

ACFE International Fraud Week Resources

About Schneider Downs Business Consultants

Schneider Downs Business Consultants leverages our experience and industry expertise to maximize value and minimize risk during acquisitions, litigation, arbitration, corporate reorganization and other major business transactions and transitions.

Learn more at

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2023 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on
Fraud, Tax BY Charlotte Garraway
5 Red Flags of Fraudulent ERC Providers
Fraudsters Might Have Stolen $200B in COVID-19 Aid
Top 5 Identity Fraud Schemes of 2023
Identity Theft vs. Identity Fraud – What’s the Difference?
Tips to Minimize the Risk of Check Washing
Fraud BY Bernie Rafferty
Postcard from the ACFE Global Fraud Conference
Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.
Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us
contact us

This site uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best user experience. Cookies assist in navigation, analyzing traffic and in our marketing efforts as described in our Privacy Policy.