A shackled Arthur Nadel appears in court

bneill@bradenton.comJanuary 27, 2009 

Arthur Nadel was chained at the waist and wrists when he appeared in court this afternoon in Tampa.

His attorney Barry Cohen said Nadel is not violent and asked that he be released on his own recognizance. He said Nadel has emotional problems and does not pose a flight risk, but a federal judge ordered him held at least until Friday.

Asked outside court where his client had been for two weeks, Cohen said, "He went away for a while just to be alone." He declined to say where exactly Nadel was, and the FBI did not provide details.

Cohen referred to his client’s alleged crimes as “a white-collar matter.” “Let him out and stay home and on house arrest,” Cohen said. “This is not a violent person. As soon as he learned of the warrant he came in. He’s not going anywhere ... three days in a cage is a long time to be locked up.”

Cohen, in arguing for house arrest for Nadel, said his client had been suffering from emotional problems and had met with a psychologist in the past week. In the end, Pizzo declined.

“The amount of money in this matter is not small change,” Pizzo said. “It’s significant.”

Federal prosecutor Terry Zitek argued that Nadel, who fled the area on Jan. 14 and whose car was found at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, was a flight risk.

Zitek asked that the bond hearing be postponed until Friday because he was merely standing in for prosecutors with the Southern District of New York. He said he had just been made aware of Nadel’s surrender this morning and needed to discuss the matter with FBI agents from New York and Sarasota.

Nadel, dressed in a grey argyle cardigan, trousers and silver-rimmed glasses, huddled with Cohen and two other attorneys at the table. Nadel’s wife, Peg, was in the courtroom and began to cry when authorities escorted him in.

Nadel, the Sarasota hedge fund manager who disappeared two weeks ago, was arrested at 9:45 a.m. today after turning himself in to FBI officials in Tampa. He was processed and presented in the Middle District Court of Florida.

Nadel ran a group of hedge funds that had lost the majority of their value, even though he told investors the investments were still making money, according to Securities and Exchange Commission authorities, who have charged Nadel with fraud.

Nadel, 76, has been charged with fraud by the SEC after he vanished Jan. 14. Authorities say he was running a Ponzi scheme through six hedge funds that claimed to have $342 million in value but were actually worth just $506,000.

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