Helen Schlapak- Hawaii- 1997-1998 Sept 13, 2015 7:38:52 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Sept 13, 2015 7:38:52 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: amw.com archives)
Fugitive Profile as of September 13th, 2015: (based on 2003 AMW archives, please contact site if you have more recent information)
Date of Birth: 8/4/1940
Weight: 120 lbs
Hair: Black or Gray
Past Addresses: Colorado, Mexico.
-Previously worked as a travel agent and tour guide
-Places she could possibly be (outside the US): Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Mexico
Who to call if you've seen her: Based on AMW archive story, our advice would be to call the FBI's Honolulu Field Office at (808) 566-4300
Alleged con artist Helen Schlapak was aired as a commercial break fugitive on the November 22nd, 2003 episode of America's Most Wanted. Below is the archived description of the case:
FBI Agents in Honolulu, HI are looking for Helen Schlapak. They say she was a leader in a scheme that defrauded more than 5,000 victims out of more that $67 million.
In June of 1997, agents say that a phony investment corporation was created under the name "Cayman Island Program" or CIP. Agents say that the leaders of the program solicited people to join, saying that when they invested a minimum of $1,000, they would receive an 8% weekly return. Cops say they told victims that at the end of thirteen weeks, they could retrieve their initial investment or re-invest. Special agents say it was all a scam and that eventually thirteen people were the leaders of the elaborate Ponzi scheme.
Agents say the scheme snowballed and grew to eventually involve victims not only in Hawaii, but throughout the United States, American Samoa, Canada, Poland, Australia, and elsewhere. By the time law enforcement dismantled the scheme in October of 1998, more than 5,000 people had lost an estimated $67 million.
In March of 1998, FBI agents say that Schlapak became a group leader for the premier group at CIP. They say that Schlapak successfully brought $8 million into the program, bilking 800 people using the Internet and United States Postal System. Agents say she also would solicit people through their church organizations. They say she flew frequently to the mainland to talk to people in person and even went as far as Albany, NY to talk to a church group.
When CIP broke up in October of 1998, police recovered just $400,000. Agents have arrested and convicted twelve of the thirteen leaders of the scam. Cops say Schlapak made off with much of the $8 million she solicited from her victims.
Thoughts? It's rather surprising to me that this case never seemed to receive more publicity despite 67 million dollars being taken. Schlapak would be 75 today if still alive. Getting up there in age, but still deserves to be convicted if proven guilty of her role. According to one article, she was last seen in Mexico. Who knows where she may be today considering all the money she allegedly conned.
UPDATE: I have not been able to find any recent articles on this case in the past few years. As far as I can tell, Schlapak, although getting even more up there in age, is still at large as of this update (7/24/2018), since I haven't found anything online suggesting otherwise. However, if anyone has any updates/proof-of-updates one way or the other, they are always more than welcome to let us know,
Admin Note: If you have any news-related updates on this case, please contact us here: amwfans.com/thread/1662/website-contact-form