A Superior Court judge has refused to lower the $5 million bail for former Lincoln Savings operator Charles H. Keating Jr., saying that the thrift executive's legal tangles made him a candidate to flee.

"I am looking at this as a case where the alleged losses have totaled $250 million," Judge Gary Klausner said Friday, explaining his decision not to reduce bail for Keating, who was jailed Tuesday following the unsealing of a 42-count criminal indictment.The charges accuse Keating of scheming to sell $250 million in now-worthless junk bonds issued by Lincoln's parent, American Continental Corp., without telling investors that the bonds were high-risk and uninsured.

Klausner's ruling means the 66-year-old Keating, one of the key symbols of the nation's ever-widening thrift scandal, will spend more time in Los Angeles County Jail.

During the two-day hearing on motions to reduce bail, Keating's attorneys said that the former thrift executive, who in 1987 had assets of more than $39 million, is now more than $5.2 million in debt.