Fugitive fraudster turned to selling drugs

A fugitive fraudster, convicted twice for drug offences while on the run in Ireland, has been sentenced to five years in a US federal prison after pleading guilty to a multimillion-dollar mortgage scam.

Scott Cavell, aged 31, was also ordered to pay $7.4m (€5.9m) in restitution during a sentencing hearing in Sacramento, California.

He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

It is debatable whether the former broker, originally linked to the theft of $100m, will ever be able to pay that money — he claims to have set up business as a low-level drug dealer in Ireland because he ran out of cash.

However, in a statement issued following his sentencing last week, the FBI said Cavell, along with a co-defendant, transferred funds out of their various bank accounts, converting the money into “travel friendly gold and coins”.

None of that gold and coins has been recovered.

Cavell’s time in Ireland was certainly eventful as he operated under a false Irish passport, was caught in early 2011 growing cannabis in his Dublin apartment and later selling ecstasy at Electric Picnic.

Both times he was released under his false name Marcus Dwyer, and neither arrest appeared to slow him down.

When in 2012, gardaí, now knowing they were after a most wanted international fugitive, finally caught up with him at another apartment, they discovered a press for making ecstasy and cash.

Cavell fled his native California in early 2009 ahead of being charged in connection with a $100m mortgage fraud.

A co-defendant, Christopher Warren, also fled at the same time but his life on the run was much shorter.

After chartering a small aircraft, he headed to Lebanon via a Shannon stop-over, where he showed the flight attendants a suitcase full of gold, claiming it was worth $5m.

Warren was caught as he tried to return the US via Canada. Some $70,000 was discovered in his cowboy boots.

Meanwhile, Cavell was lying low, likely already in Ireland, according to authorities.

And he remained free and unknown as a fugitive until an alert garda, intrigued by his US accent, decided to send his fingerprints and photographs to Interpol.

Following his February 2011 arrest on the cannabis charges, Cavell was on the run in Ireland for months.

During that time, in September 2011, he was arrested selling ecstasy tablets at Electric Picnic.

He was released, to be summonsed later, though under the name Marcus Dwyer.

Gardaí, including members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, finally managed to track him down to a Dublin city centre apartment just ahead of his trial in April 2012 on the cannabis charges

A press for making ecstasy tablets and cash was discovered in the apartment and he was charged in connection with that offence.

Cavell agreed to not fight being sent back to the US in return for no jail time and he was deported in late 2012.

Cavell pleaded guilty to generating millions of dollars of mortgages. After they were approved, he, and Warren, simply stole the money.


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner