NEW YORK — A hedge-fund swindler who set off a national manhunt when he faked his suicide to avoid reporting to prison surrendered Wednesday to small-town police in Massachusetts, after his mother helped broker the surrender.

Samuel Israel III, 48, walked into the police station in Southwick, Mass., at about 9:15 a.m. wearing a colored T-shirt and shorts, identified himself and said he was a fugitive wanted by the federal government, officials said.

Israel's SUV was found abandoned on a bridge over the Hudson River in suburban New York City with the words "Suicide is Painless" scrawled in dust on the hood.

Israel disappeared June 9 just hours before he was to report to prison to begin serving a 20-year sentence handed down in April for his role in the collapse of the Bayou hedge funds. Prosecutors said he and two other men scammed investors into putting $450 million into the funds by announcing nonexistent profits and providing fake audits, and made millions in commissions on trades that lost money for the investors.