The search is on for John Arthur Walthall, who failed to appear at a June 27 court hearing concerning the 55-year-old La Habra resident allegedly exaggerating a medical condition to avoid trial on charges of defrauding an elderly Laguna Niguel couple out of nearly $5 million.
The FBI released the DMV photo shot in October 2010 of Walthall and the description that follows the jump . . .
Walthall is described as:
His alleged victims, both of whom were in their late 80s, are said to have given Walthall $4.7 million to invest in technology aimed at finding gold in abandoned mines. His federal indictment states that Walthall convinced the couple he had invested $3 million of his own money over a decade into a partnership called "Advanced Recycling General Partners."
But the U.S. Attorney's office says the large majority of the couple's money was used by Walthall for his own gold investments and personal expenses, including making alimony and child support payments for his four children; paying rent and other living expenses; purchasing multiple vehicles; and snagging luxury items, including a $10,000 payment to a film school and a hyperbaric oxygen chamber worth approximately $60,000.
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When Walthall was arrested in 2009, FBI claimed to have found around $500,000 in gold coins under the bed of his La Habra residence. Agents also seized three vehicles Walthall had purchased with investor money, including two Ford Excursions and a Ford 450 pick-up truck.
His trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Santa Ana on Sept. 13, but the government recently filed a motion seeking to revoke Walthall's bond due to findings that he had supposedly been exaggerating a medical condition in order to avoid trial.
Judge Andrew J. Guilford on June 23 ordered Walthall to appear at a hearing four days later to address the government's motion. When Walthall failed to appear at the 3 p.m. hearing, Guilford issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The FBI now considers him a fugitive.
Anyone with information on Walthall's whereabouts is urged to contact the FBI 24 hours a day at 888 CANT HIDE (888.226.8443).