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Keating Freed After Arrest Over Passport

April 02, 1998|From Times Wire Services

A federal judge on Wednesday freed Charles H. Keating Jr. from jail after scolding his attorney for allowing the former savings-and-loan chief to apply for a passport.

U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer restricted Keating to California and Arizona. He had previously been allowed to travel within the lower 48 states.

Keating, 74, who operated Lincoln Savings & Loan until its failure and seizure by regulators in 1989, was jailed last Friday in Phoenix on an alleged bail violation.

Pfaelzer said the passport application clearly violated the terms of Keating's release from prison.

"It is totally inappropriate for an attorney to tell a criminal defendant that he can violate the terms of release," the judge told Keating attorney Stephen C. Neal. "He is not going to stay out if this happens again."

Neal told The Times last week that Keating had filed for a passport on the understanding that prosecutors did not object and willingly surrendered when Pfaelzer later ordered his arrest.

Keating applied for a passport to work as a consultant on a hotel project in Belize, Neal said.

This was the latest chapter in the legal saga involving Keating, who was convicted in 1991 of 17 counts of state securities fraud for bilking thousands of elderly investors out of their life savings.

Apart from his state securities fraud conviction, Keating was also convicted in 1993 of federal racketeering, fraud and conspiracy charges that grew out of his role as head of a savings and loan empire that included Lincoln.

Lincoln declared bankruptcy in 1989, and the collapse had a domino effect on the U.S. thrift industry.

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