BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 9, 2015–David Miguel Nanes Schnitzer, 47, who is allegedly one of the key figures in a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, and is wanted in multiple jurisdictions, was picked up by police on San Pedro, who busted him with a fake driver’s license.
The international fugitive, who has been on the run for several months, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Friday on a charge of uttering upon a forged document. He appeared without an attorney and pleaded guilty to the charge.
Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith had deferred sentencing until today, Monday.
Schnitzer appeared in court this morning and was represented by attorney Liesje Barrow-Chung. He and his attorney informed the court that he wished to change his guilty plea to not guilty. The court prosecutor, however, objected to granting him bail on the ground that he is a flight risk.
Chief Magistrate Smith upheld the prosecutor’s objection and remanded him to prison.
According to international media reports, Schnitzer assisted Allan Stanford to defraud thousands of victims in Latin America and the United States out of $7 billion, the largest fraud scheme in US history.
The mastermind, Stanford, was sentenced to 110 years in prison in the United States.
Schnitzer, who is a Mexican-American, was the president of Stanford Group, Mexico. The investment group used an offshore bank in Antigua called Stanford International Bank Limited. The scheme lured victims into buying thousands of certificates of deposits from this bank.
The investors who were defrauded were mostly from Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, and they lost hundreds of millions of dollars when the Stanford business crashed.
It is believed that US Marshalls and Interpol will attempt to get custody of Schnitzer from Belizean authorities.