NEW YORK — A Las Vegas man convicted Wednesday of scheming to cheat investors out of $16 million vanished during a 15-minute court recess after the verdict, federal authorities said.
U.S. marshals found Antonio Guastella five hours later in the lobby of a hotel in Manhattan's theater district, said Marvin Smilon, a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Mary Jo White. When he saw the marshals, he began to run and was tackled outside the hotel.
Guastella, 49, disappeared shortly after a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty of conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud. The conspiracy conviction carries a prison term of up to 20 years.
His defense lawyer had asked for a brief recess after the verdict, during which the defendant apparently left the courthouse.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a warrant for his arrest.
Guastella had been free on bail during the trial, which started May 14. The judge remanded his co-defendant, Robert Martins, who was also convicted in the scheme, to jail after Guastella's disappearance.