A Seattle couple who have been on the run for over a year were arrested in France this week. The arrest of real-estate magnate Michael R. Mastro and his wife Linda was confirmed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. The couple was charged with multiple counts of bankruptcy fraud over a year ago and reportedly disappeared when an order to turn over diamond jewelry valued at over $1 million was ignored. It is unclear when the couple will be extradited back to the United States to face charges and sentencing.
According the documents related to Mastros bankruptcy filing the couple may owe more than $250 million to creditors. In June 2011, the Mastros were ordered by federal court to turn over diamond rings valued at roughly $1.4 million to satisfy creditors. A month after the order they became wanted fugitives with warrants being issued for their arrests in relation to contempt of court.
When the couple filed bankruptcy in 2009 they failed to disclose bank account details. This bank account reportedly had more than $250,000, yet the couple used funds from the account while on the run for personal expenses totaling $285,000. A complaint related to the case claims the couple had no intent on paying debt and purposely defrauded creditors. It is unclear if the bank account in question could be pursued by creditors since it was opened in the name of a limited-liability corporation.
Numerous checks were written from the account and used to purchase luxury items including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, $100,000 in gold and department store purchases such as Barney’s and Macy’s. Checks were even written by Michael Mastro to his wife Linda totaling roughly $18,000. While there has been a criminal investigation in progress over the last 3 years on the Mastros, it is unclear what additional charges and prison time the couple may face. In 2010 the Mastros mansion was sold for $9 million.