An investment adviser who lived for weeks in plush hotels in the Far East after fleeing Florida in August returned in handcuffs to face charges of embezzling up to $20 million from his clients, authorities said.
Henry Gherman, 52, was scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon on fraud and embezzlement charges before U.S. Magistrate Linnea Johnson.Gherman was extradited Tuesday after being jailed since October in Tokyo. He was arrested and sent to Japan by FBI agents after some American tourists recognized him in a Taiwan hotel.
The fugitive, who mailed written apologies to about 50 clients before he disappeared, arrived aboard a commercial flight at Miami International Airport Tuesday night, escorted by a dozen police officers, FBI agents and federal marshals.
Family members waiting for the plane said they were hoping to talk with Gherman for the first time in four months, but he managed to share only a strained smile with them as he was led into a car and driven to Miami's Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Gherman's extradition from Japan was approved earlier this month by a Tokyo court after FBI agents presented a criminal complaint charging him with two counts of fraud and five counts of embezzlement.
"I hurt for him," said Gherman's daughter, Shari Gherman Rance. "I can't believe he would intentionally hurt me or anybody."
In his letters of apology, Gherman blamed his disappearance on the impending collapse of one of his company, Financial and Investment Planning Inc.
"I have been unable to come up with any solution other than running," Gherman wrote, adding that he would try to return the money eventually. "I am truly sorry."
According to the complaint, Gherman may have been making unauthorized transfers from his clients' pension plans to his North Miami Beach business since as early as 1978.
Authorities said up to $20 million was embezzled from his clients, many of whom were Miami Beach doctors.
"We've located $2.2 million so far," said Paul Miller, an FBI spokesman, adding that an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office is continuing. "They're still checking into further records."
A court-appointed receiver now oversees Gherman's finances and that of his family and companies.