DENVER (KDVR) — A man who escaped from a federal prison in Littleton, Colorado in 2018 has been apprehended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Authorities say they found him living a “flashy” assumed identity.
Allen Todd May, 58, had been on the run since Dec. 21, 2018, when he escaped from the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution. May originally stole a Bureau of Prisons work truck and drove off the prison grounds without anyone noticing.
Hours later, he used a credit card to rent a U-Haul truck from a Denver facility and then abandoned it behind a Waffle House in Fort Worth, Texas. May was seen at his mother’s house in Houston the day after his escape, but a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman told Nexstar’s KDVR the trail for May turned cold for years until an anonymous tipster surfaced a few months ago.
“This was huge. This was a very long, extensive investigation. This gentleman, because of his fraud background, was very good at eluding capture,” said Katrina Crouse, chief deputy U.S. Marshal for Colorado.
‘Jacob Turner’ lives lavish lifestyle in Florida
The U.S. Marshals started receiving anonymous tips that May had assumed a new name and was living in South Florida. Investigators learned May had taken on a new identity as Jacob Turner, living a lavish lifestyle in the West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale area.
He was seen in a photo taken at a high society fundraiser that was published in the Palm Beach Daily News in mid-May. The caption listed him as Jacob Turner.
May was arrested Monday night at a Fort Lauderdale home less than 2 miles from the ocean. Investigators said the home is valued at nearly $1.5 million.
When U.S. Marshals arrested him, they say May was wearing a Rolex watch and driving a Mercedes car that agents believe was worth about $125,000.
“Very flashy. He was flaunting his wealth. Whether he obtained that wealth legitimately or not is another question. But he was very good at flaunting his wealth while still trying to remain hidden,” Crouse said.
Investigators believe May could have committed new white-collar crimes while he was on the run. Crouse, the U.S. Marshals chief deputy in Colorado, told KDVR May could face new charges related to potential fraud while he was on the run.
When he escaped, May had nine years left on a 20-year prison sentence for securities fraud. He was convicted of stealing $6.8 million through a Ponzi scheme.
But even when he was behind bars, investigators think he managed to steal another $700,000 through fraud.
A scheme worth $700K — all from behind bars
May was indicted in June 2022 on 17 counts of wire and mail fraud, plus one count of escape. From 2016-18, when May was still behind bars, he allegedly set up fake energy companies, according to the indictment.
Just about every state has an account for unclaimed property. Investigators say May set up sham companies in Texas through the Secretary of State’s website and then found unclaimed oil and gas royalties that had never been paid out in Kansas, Louisiana, and North Dakota.
May contacted those states and portrayed himself as a representative of those companies, according to the indictment. He claimed that “entities controlled by him were entitled to oil and gas royalties that had not yet been claimed by the true owners.”
The indictment said May then provided the home address of his friend, only identified by the initials L.M., as the business address for the newly created fake businesses.
Then, according to the indictment, “May gave L.M. directions about how, when, and where to deposit those checks,” and he “obtained more than $700,000 as a result of his scheme.”
May had his first court appearance Wednesday morning at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida. Crouse told KDVR that May waived his rights to fight extradition and is expected to be transported back to Colorado by the end of the month.