Samuel Israel’s Lost Weekend

Samuel Israel
Photo: AP

Now we get why former hedge-fund manager Samuel Israel III wanted to turn himself into authorities yesterday: He's been camping.

Israel, who is scheduled to appear in Manhattan court today, faked his suicide three weeks ago, on the day he was due to report for a twenty-year prison sentence for defrauding investors in his Bayou hedge fund out of $450,000. Investigators were immediately suspicious about Israel's glib "note," "Suicide Is Painless," scrawled in dust on the hood of his car, which itself was left temptingly on a bridge over the Hudson. For his last words, they wondered, would a person really turn to plagiarizing the lyrics of the theme song from MASH?

As it turns out, no. But Israel didn't follow in the footsteps of previous outlaws by heading to Nambibia or Cuba: Alas, he didn't have his passport anymore. And so he was forced to bunker down in an RV at the Prospect Mountain Campground, in Granville, Massachusetts, only 62 miles from the prison he was supposed to go to in the first place, where he ate food from cans and frequented the general store, where, apparently, no one watches the news or reads the papers, until finally turning himself in yesterday. Why? Authorities say his mother convinced him to give himself up. But others think the reason could be simpler: "I think he got bored here," a fellow camper told Reuters. Seriously. It's no Mount Kisco — the $32,000-a-month mansion he used to rent from Donald Trump. Also, it's so buggy out this time of year.

Fund Manager Who Faked His Suicide Surrenders [NYT]
Sam Israel's Wooded Hideout [DealZone/Reuters]