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Diplomacy in Action

San Francisco Fraudster Fugitive Returned from Mexico After 13 Years on the Run


Press Statement
San Francisco, CA
January 25, 2011

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Special agents from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) have located and helped return California fugitive John Pope from Mexico. Pope, formerly of San Francisco, was taken into custody by Mexican authorities in La Paz, Mexico on January 12 and returned to the United States on January 18, 2011 to face trial.

John Pope has been wanted by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office since October 20, 1998, in connection with allegations of fraud concerning embezzlement of $1,000,000 from the estate of a deceased San Francisco businessman. On March 20, 2008, DSS filed a separate federal passport fraud warrant to John Pope concerning a United States passport he allegedly applied for through the mail in a false name. DSS Special Agents in Mexico conducting the passport fraud investigation, in conjunction with local Mexican authorities, located John Pope in La Paz, Mexico, where he apparently had been residing for 13 years. On January 12, 2011 local Mexican police took Pope into custody.

Once Pope was taken into custody, DSS special agents at Embassy Mexico City worked with the Government of Mexico to arrange for Pope’s return to the United States. On January 18, the US Marshals Service and Mexican authorities returned Pope to Miami, Florida where he had his initial appearance in federal court the same day. He remains in federal custody.

Pope will answer to his federal passport fraud charges in the federal District of New Hampshire, the location of State Department offices that processed his alleged false passport application. Later, Pope will answer to his San Francisco County fraud charges.

Jeffrey W. Culver, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, stated, "John Pope's capture after 13 years on the run is evidence that those who commit passport fraud will not escape justice. The Diplomatic Security Service not only investigates false passports, but our Special Agents assigned to American Embassies in more 185 countries pursue hundreds of international fugitives every year. This success of this capture is an example of Diplomatic Security's excellent relationship and cooperation with Mexican authorities and our tireless pursuit of those who flee American justice."

John Pope is presumed innocent of both his federal passport and his San Francisco fraud charges unless and until he is proven guilty in a court of law.

Contact:

Joseph 'Pat' Durkin
Special-Agent-In-Charge
San Francisco Field Office
415-705-1176

Sarah Rosetti
Diplomatic Security Public Affairs
571-345-2507
RosettiSN@state.gov



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