J. David Dominelli, a fugitive financier suspected of fleeing...


MIAMI -- J. David Dominelli, a fugitive financier suspected of fleeing the United States with $112 million in investor funds, was arrested Saturday after being kicked off one Caribbean island and barred from another.

Dominelli, the 42-year-old head of the bankrupt J. David & Co. of San Diego, and two aides were whisked off a plane and taken into custody by two U.S. marshals. A third person also was escorted off the plane but was not arrested.


The fugitive financier, barred from Antigua, was spotted dipping into a suitcase to pay his bills in cash when he was evicted from Montserrat. But officials refused to say whether he had the money with him when he arrived in Miami.

'I have no knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing money,' said U.S. Attorney Neal Shniderman.

Following processing the federal courthouse in Miami, Dominelli and his secretary, Deborah Hart, 25, and her computer expert husband Calmon Hart, 25, were taken to jail, their hands cuffed behind their backs.


U.S. Magistrate Peter Nimkoff ordered the three jailed without bond until a hearing Monday. They were charged in a federal complaint filed April 20 with bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy.

Dominelli is wanted in the disappearance of $112 million in investors' money.

Marshals boarded an Eastern Airlines jet that arrived from Antigua Island at 12:53 p.m. EST and escorted Dominelli, the Harts and Perin Columna, a San Diego developer who serves as Dominelli's bodyguard, off the plane. All but Columna were arrested.

Shniderman told reporters 'luggage and items of personal property' were in the hands of marshals. He said Dominelli 'made no statements to me.'

Dominelli and the Harts lowered their heads and said nothing as marshals led them to waiting cars for the trip to the North Dade County Correctional facility. Dominelli left Montserrat, where he had fled two weeks ago, early Saturday under an expulsion order. He flew to Antigua, where immigration officials said they refused to admit him.

He had been ordered to leave Montserrat by 9 a.m. local time Saturday by British-appointed Gov. David Dale after he failed to produce a promised list of investors. Police searched his rented exclusive mansion and charged him with unlawful possession of two pistols and ammunition. Dominelli left Montserrat's Blackburn Airport at 7:45 a.m. local time Saturday on a chartered Piper Seneca II.


Before leaving Montserrat, a tiny island in the Leeward chain, Dominelli paid all his bills in cash, Montserrat sources said.

Hart carried two brown attache cases believed to be stuffed with money. A Montserrat taxi driver said he saw Dominelli pay the pilot of the plane with a $1,000 bill taken from one of the cases.

Airport officials said the pilot filed a flight plan for Guadeloupe, a French overseas possession, but the plane veered to Antigua, an independent, English-speaking island 27 miles northeast of Montserrat.

Dominelli's company, with offices in Chicago and the California cities of La Jolla, Newport, and San Francisco, had offered well-heeled investors returns of up to 40 percent annually based on Dominelli's manipulations in international currencies.

The company's checks started bouncing in December and panicky investors demanded their money. When Dominelli could not produce it, the company last February was forced into involuntary bankruptcy.

Former company insiders in San Diego say it is doubtful any sizable assets remain.

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