LAS VEGAS (AP) — A German fugitive who had been sought for five years in a fraud scheme that netted more than $100 million has been arrested in Las Vegas, authorities said Friday.
Ulrich Felix Anton Engler, 51, was arrested in the Las Vegas area late Wednesday, Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said.
Engler, who is accused of also using the names Joseph Miller and Joseph Walter, was being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on an immigration violation, ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas said.
The FBI and local police on Friday seized more than 1,000 pieces of artwork from a storage facility that Engler was renting in Boulder City, about 25 miles east of Las Vegas.
FBI Agent Patrick Turner in Las Vegas called the warrant search an effort to recover proceeds on behalf of alleged victims of the scheme.
Engler had been named in a warrant issued in December 2007 by a court in Mannheim and Hamburg, Germany, on multiple criminal fraud charges, according to an ICE statement. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
He had also been named in a March 2010 notice from the international police agency INTERPOL.
Engler is accused of using a marketing company in Cape Coral, Fla., to build an Internet pyramid scheme. From June 2003 to December 2004, it collected almost $101 million from more than 3,500 investors in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, authorities said. Once the money reached the United States, investors lost access to it.
When the arrest warrant was issued in Germany, Engler was believed to have been living in Florida.
Last year, U.S. marshals and INTERPOL officials in Washington determined he was living in Nevada under the name Joseph Miller.
ICE Director John Morton called Engler's capture after five years "a welcome day and an important step" toward providing his victims a measure of relief and justice in Germany.