NEW YORK — A fugitive hedge-fund swindler who had been on the lam for nearly a month since a faked suicide on a Hudson River bridge surrendered Wednesday in Massachusetts, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Samuel Israel turned himself into Southwick, Mass., police between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, said Suzanne Anderson, police Chief Mark Krynicki's assistant. She said he was being processed at Southwick Police headquarters and referred all further questions to federal authorities.

Southwick is 95 miles from the federal prison in Ayer, Mass., where Israel was to report last month to serve his sentence.

Israel disappeared June 9 on the day he was supposed to report to prison. His car was found on a bridge over the Hudson River with the words "Suicide is Painless" — the title of the theme song for the "MASH" television show — scrawled in dust on the hood.

Because no body was found beneath the 150-foot-high bridge where his car was abandoned, authorities believed from the start that he faked his disappearance.

The 48-year-old Israel, a co-founder and chief executive of the now-collapsed Bayou hedge funds, was sentenced in April to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy and fraud. He was also ordered to pay $300 million to his victims.

Prosecutors said he and two other men persuaded investors to put $450 million into the Stamford, Conn.-based company by announcing nonexistent profits and providing fake audits.

Meanwhile, they made millions in commissions on trades that lost money for investors. The fund's collapse prompted calls for stricter oversight.

Officials said that after Israel abandoned his car, he took off in a white recreational vehicle carrying a motor scooter and his belongings. He was believed to be staying at RV parks, campgrounds or highway rest areas.

Southwick, where Israel turned himself in, is near the Connecticut line about 100 miles southwest of Boston.

Israel's girlfriend, Debra Ryan of Armonk, was arrested 10 days after his disappearance and charged with aiding and abetting his escape.

Authorities say Ryan confessed that on the day Israel was to surrender, she drove her car and he drove the RV to a rest area about 55 miles north of New York City. Israel parked the RV there, and the two drove back to their home.

Ryan could face as many as 10 years in prison if convicted in the scheme.


Associated Press Writer Mark Pratt contributed to this report from Boston.