White-Collar Crime

FBI calls attorney defendant who failed to appear for court hearing 'armed and dangerous'

Updated: A 67-year-old Florida lawyer wanted in connection with a $19 million investment fraud case is “armed and dangerous,” the FBI says.

However, a lawyer representing attorney Michael Ralph Casey urged against jumping to conclusions and said he is concerned for Casey’s safety.

The FBI’s office in Miami says Casey, who was indicted in 2012 on federal mail and wire fraud conspiracy charges but was free on bond, has been missing about two weeks. U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard issued a bench warrant after Casey failed to appear at an April 29 court hearing in Miami, the Sun Sentinel reports.

The Fort Lauderdale practitioner was president and in-house counsel for Commodities Online, which claimed investors could earn up to 33 percent by purchasing short-term commodities contracts, prosecutors say. In fact, there were no profits, and longer-term investors were paid with new money from more recent victims, according to federal authorities.

Attorney John Wylie represents Casey. “We were looking forward to defending the case, and we will do it if I’m given the opportunity,” he told the newspaper Tuesday. “Everybody involved, including the FBI, hopes that nothing bad has happened to him. We don’t know what has happened, so we can’t make any assumptions.”

Updated at 6 p.m. to include additional information from revised Sun Sentinel story.

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