PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Ned Warren Sr., whom authorities claimed was the ringleader of widespread land fraud schemes in Arizona, died Thursday night at the Maricopa County Hospital.
A spokesman for the sheriff's office said Warren, 65, died at 11:09 p.m. in the detention ward of the hospital.
Warren had appeared in U.S. District Court in a wheelchair Monday for a hearing on a motion which could have resulted in his parole from prison.
Attorneys asked Judge Walter Craig to set aside Warren's 54-to-60 year sentence, imposed when he pleaded guilty in 1978 to two bribery charges and 20 counts of fraud. That would have made Warren eligible for parole on federal convictions of extortion and fraud.
Warren's health was one of the major issues in a long custody fight between federal and state authorities. He underwent an arterial bypass in 1977 in Oklahoma City and suffered a heart attack about a month later. Doctors had testified in previous court hearings that he suffered from anemia, and his attorney told Craig Monday that Warren had a tumor on the lung which might be cancerous, although no firm diagnosis had been made.
Warren, who had headed several land firms in Arizona, was indicted in 1976 in connection with the sale of land in Yavapai County to U.S. servicemen serving overseas.
He made a plea agreement with authorities to cooperate with them in several other criminal cases, but officials later said Warren had lied to them and he was sentenced to 54 to 60 years in prison.