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Monday, September 01, 2014         

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ...


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FBI continues search for couple behind mortgage scam


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Question: What ever happened to the FBI manhunt for an Oahu couple who never showed up for sentencing in a mortgage fraud scam?

Answer: FBI agents continue chasing leads and have expanded the search for John and Julieanne Dimitrion to the mainland.

"Our fugitive investigation has indicated that they have some personal contacts in the Washington, D.C., area and the West Coast of the U.S. mainland," said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon in Honolulu.

In a couple of weeks, the FBI will begin posting photos of the pair on electronic billboards on the mainland and putting up wanted posters, he said. The couple is pictured on the FBI's website as wanted for white-collar crimes.

Warrants will identify the couple if they are pulled over anywhere in the U.S., Simon said.

The FBI has no record of the couple leaving Oahu by plane, but they could have fled on a boat or by using false IDs, Simon said.

However, Simon said he believes the couple might still be on Oahu and asks anyone who has information on them to call the FBI.

Tips on the couple's whereabouts, including a reported sighting of Julieanne Dimitrion on a city bus, have been checked out and ruled false, Simon said.

The FBI launched the manhunt after the couple failed to show up for sentencing at U.S. District Court on July 6.

The Dimitrions pleaded guilty in April to operating a fraud scheme that led to several families losing their homes, the FBI said.

The couple persuaded distressed homeowners to sign over their properties, promising to invest the proceeds of the home sales. Instead, they spent the money on themselves.

Losses to their victims exceeded $1 million.

The couple was last seen a few days before their sentencing date at a church service at Mililani Recreation Center.

The FBI is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to their arrests.

Julieanne Dimitrion's attorney, Myles Breiner, said he doesn't know where his client is, and said family members were surprised by her disappearance.

He repeated his concern for her safety, saying she may be distressed by the idea of a lengthy prison sentence.

Simon said he doesn't believe the couple was ever suicidal.

"We have no reason to believe that they have committed suicide based on the financial transaction they undertook before they disappeared," he said.

Call the FBI at 566-4300 if you have information on the couple's whereabouts.

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This update was written by Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Shikina. Suggest a topic for "Whatever Happened To ..." by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or e-mail cityeditors@staradvertiser.com.






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