John Ruffo – How This Man Successfully Stole $350 Million


Episode Transcription

Made by robots, for robots. Only read if you're weird.

A man. What's going on? Have you ever heard of John Rufo? John Rufo? Yeah, nope, I don't have anything. I think we need to get it out of the way right at the beginning, because every time I've heard his name since I've found him, I think of John Ralphao Deka. Different Guy. Not, not saying we're not doing that guy. Yeah, he is still the worst, but he's yeah, I know he's. Don't don't get too far in yourself. He sucks, for sure. Different Guy, also, different person. He's not Johnny Rufo. Same Name. John wouldn't, but you had the n why the NY? Johnny Ruffo? WHO's Johnny Roof? It's not him. He was a finalist on the third season of the x factor Australia. Is that who we're doing the episode about her? Is that Johnny Rufo? That's Johnny. Okay, so johnny not. This is different guy. I we're pretty sure at least. I mean could be. Jury's out. It's possible they got the same name. It's just an extra two letters at the end. Johnny's in the third season x factor, of the Australian X factor. Oh he was a fine I didn't realize that. Every country had their own. You know that? They they got like Ireland's got talent. We all got our own. Yeah, I mean every country's got some talented people. Right. Well, I mean I know they have talented people, but I didn't know they had their own. I didn't know they had TV's. Yeah, yeah, in other countries had things. You didn't know other countries had things. No, I was waiting for you to react that. You were just like yours, like, yeah, looking at whatever your are you looking at x factor winners over here? What are you? I got an episode, listen. Yeah, and I'm pictured picture. I had a relater your commute this morning. But are you rate to learn about every winner of x factor in the last ten years? I have a family who put their houses in the line for me and for that reason I'm out. Is that figure on your ankle where I kick my twizzlers? Guilty person, says. What? What? Don't act like. What you ate was salsa, okay, what? No, shut up, early saw shut your minds. It on the CAN. Things I learned last night. It is so Johnny Ruffo. Johnny Ruffo was on x factor. Yeah, John Ruffo, different guy. So John Rufo. He is the perpetrator of the one of, if not the largest, bank fraud in American history. He had stolen. I want you to listen back the sentence you said just when I'm imagining the moment whenever this comes out and you just say yeah, but also the word structure that you went with, where he said he's the perpetrator, or one of the of the biggest bank fraud in the United States. Like if you cut out all the odds this and still didn't make sense. So let's make it make more sense. He decided the bank. Yeah, so he. Oh, not just the bank, all the banks, just about everything. Oh, capital, be bank. I seeriou say, not the big, the big, big bank, big, big, the big be bank. That's a church joke for ex angelicals. He listen. Yeah, he had stolen from just about everything you can think of. If they were one in thanking in the mid S, then he the frauded them to the tune of a little over three hundred and fifty million dollars. What is that tune sound? That's what three you're telling me that three hundred and fifty million dollars is the family few theme song. It's family fraud. I was fast I'm really proud of you. Sorry, it's family off fraud. So he robbed every bank. How? What? Yeah, what does he just type it in coke rewards points and we'redeeving him for cash in the S. I don't know. We'll get to that. But the more interesting part of the story is the fact that when he was convicted, the whole caught. Spoiler. Yeah, he got caught. He's in court, he gets convicted guilty and the guards take him away into the back room. When they do well, guilty whatever they made court room. Yeah, yeah, as he and Steve Harvey's court. You see Steve Harvey's show? I was on there. Go family a few. That's like I was gonna say. Is it his show? Family Feud? No, it's Steve Harvey's got a court show where he goes defense. Does he really? He does have a he does have a court show. I was trying to combine family feud and his court show. I had no idea how to court and he was gonna go Defense Prosecution. Give me one player resign and then it's down to play fast guilty. It's yeah, you know, he does have a court show. It's pretty we should get on it. Yeah, that's a great idea. Yeah, Ray, and I've been trying to get on divorce court. Well, if you don't know how the shows work, they're all made up. A yeah, but we really want to go on divorce court. Yeah, that'd be God, what a great time. Can you imagine the church people on come up to your shove and be like, I saw that boy on an episode of Divorce Court? Yeah, well, it's better than cops. You know, that sums real. They're not cast for cops. That's what you think. So he got taken away into the back room. Yeah, of court, when, whatever they do, they're like, I don't know, put you in the orange suit and cuffew and, oh, like he's been all the fought, the chargers have been, everything's happened. They tell them you're going to prison seventeen years. He goes in the back room and now is the point where all of the the judge and the jury and executioner, they all party. I don't know what. They don't know what happened. I've never been to a court like. They all pass around cheesecake that's been sitting out for a little while, celebratory as kind of saggy rat's done. All right, yeah, COO, and the defense is not celebrating. Yeah, yeah, they're all angry, they're all set. Yeah, they're all eating Bologny, almost old bull. So you're saying in the American justice system, Steve Harvey says, all rights, my fast. What's my fast? Guilty, all right, guilty person says what? What? That's good to eat? This longcus cheesecake. Defense old blowney. That's what his must day. It gives they just do they pass it out by the slice. Yeah, they've got the little little I don't know what you call it, that little plastic gid. Know that the package. We all knew. We were all there with the round Bologny package. You just gotta nothing else is package like Bologny. Hmmmmm. anyways, so they take up in the back room and then everyone knows his defense attorney. Yeah, says, excuse me, judge, we had a self surrender agreement. And the judge was like excuse me, and he turns to the prosecution and he says, is this true? Do you guys have a self surrender agreement? And they were like, Oh, yeah, we did do that, and so let me explain. So in certain cases it's relatively common for the judge to grant a self surrender to the guilty party. Basically, what that means is they get to wear an ankle monitor for the next month or so to take care of their affairs and then report to prison for their sentencing. If you have a lengthy sentence or like a crime like, I don't know, you still three hundred fifty million dollars from from every banks, then they usually don't let you do that because they say they the defense negotiated this. So the defense. So the prosecution came to the defense early in the trial and asked for some documents and the defense said that they would comply if they the negotiot it. Yes, how they gave us self surrender agreement. A self surrender is essential really in certain cases. If you have like a lighter sentence but you're going to have some prison time, they might grant you a self surrender to allow you to go handle your affairs before you're gone for a couple years. Sure, because you know probably have some stuff to take care of right. But if you have a lengthy sentence and you've done a serious crime like the robbing three hundred and fifty million dollars worth sipicly doesn't happen. Yeah, they're typically like, yeah, you probably like if we let you go, you're going to be there's a risk. Yeah, and so they don't normally don't do that. But the prosecution had to range a deal with the defense early in this trial. Yeah, to get some documents and in exchange that, it's documents they would grant. And the way in court it works, it's a lot like pokemon car yes, where it's like, I'll give you these documents and exchange for, I don't know, letting my guy off Scott free. And they're like but it's like it's like a it's like when you buy a used car on facebook, right, yeah, because you got to negotiate. Yeah, you get going hot, like Oh, I wanted to I have a jail time at all. Yeah, you know, and then see you're like, okay, well, hold on, we obviously can't just let him out. It's got free. What if? What if we did twenty four years with no possibility of a death penalty? And they're like yeah, but we kind of want the the risk. If there's no, no chance of the death penalty, why even try to kill? Yeah, I what about her foot? Where are you the are you the defense? He's a yeah, but I want to know that my work matters. I want to know what I say saving a life. Yeah, okay. Well, what if he's got like a month, yeah, after the sentence, to just do whatever? Do what to handle his affairs? How many affairs did this guy have going on at once? Are you a defense attorney? You seem dumb. You know, you seem dumb, if I'm going to be honest. So they granted it. They how long signed? I want to stay science assigned documentation. About a month. So he's had a seventeen year since. He's going to have about a month where he's gonna wear three hundred and fifty million and we're back to the age old debate if you had a month. So he so he has to wear an ankle monitor. At the end of the month he has to report back to prison to just live there for seventeen years. So it's like a rum springing right did which is the amish have where they get to live? Oh, we decided if we're go back or not. Yeah, actually, kind of, except for monitored and you have to, and you have to. Some have to because he didn't. So he gets his ankle Mo under. He goes and spends thirty days cuts his lefe off sidebar. Never tells his wife about the whole self surrender thing. Oh, I thought about tells her thing net like tell you said, Hey, I'm going to work and then he's going to his trial. Like he never tells her that he stole the money. Never tells her that he's gotten arrested and there's all trial and he might spend a lot of time in jail. What he's been telling her this whole time is that he's being like wrong. I'm a manager, a Duncan Baby. I gotta get up early. You know, those donuts all make themselves. I gotta get there for AM. He says he's been wrongly convicted and finding it, and so when he was at a sentence, they got the wrong guy. I'm the One servant time all the guy really did. It's on x factors season three, like, how can this even be, babe? And he said out of his sensing, child was like an early child, like he just lied to her. Went to this child where. I mean, if it didn't go his way, he was going to prison for seventeen years. Right after it for all right you, and he was like yeah, I'm just gonna go to child be back this afternoon. Well, then he comes back and she thinks it's still an open trial, like who knows what's going to happen. And with an ankle bracelet on, though. Yeah, she wasn't like yeah, there's that about. They're just like they want to keep a little better check of me, you know, like yeah, they want to know where he was. Like, I saw this at the mall. There's one of those kiosk. The Guy said, my ankle looks weird. If I wear this it would look less weird. Yeah, it's a balanced thing. It's like a hmmm, I'm gonna go for I'M gonna go on, I'm gonna go on the run. I'm for a run. Remember time I pulled my hamstring and football in high school. This is like it's supposed to help that. Yeah, that's sad. Yeah, it balances. Yeah, you know, you know, you get it. Yeah, so the month goes by and it's time, it's time to report, and so he's it beep on the day. If you're the morning goes dud, dude, dude, good morning. It's April. Twenty eight. Come back to prison. It's your prison day. Happy Prison Day, John Ruffo, says his name everything. It's the series voice, though. But what years? This is the s ninety eight, airy, primitive, very hello, John rofo. It is prison day, prison, PA PA, Pata, Papa, place them fuse. So, yeah, it's ninety eight. He rents. He rents a car and he asked. He tells his wife, Hey, I want to keep your chiropractor appointment only should take the subway they love in New York, and she's like, I'll just take this upays Goma wuts our car to drive his chiropractor. Like, though, I like to drive you the car. I just went into. This car to drive me to the chiropractor. Yeah, really passionate about your spinal alignment. Well, he told her that his car was in the shop and he's like. He's like, I just really want to spend secial times. You like, let me take you to your car. pract so he does that and dropped it off with the chiropractor. Pulls by the right US Marshall's office. It's a Saturday morning. There's like an attendant at the door and he's okay, I'm supposed to get my inkle monitor off today and the guy just does it, just takes his inkle monitor off and lets him go. Doesn't ask me questions or what they get ID or anything. Just gets his ankle monitor off and then no idea or anything. The last do you think? Let me ask where you think the process should look like? Do you think he needs to give his ID? Yeah, you're let me make sure this is your ankle monitor. I'm sure what happens is you come in and they have to check, like look you up and be like, Oh, are you supposed to get this off? What was this plane like if they did do that, like if he just went to the use of Marcial Office and he was a guy, gotta take this off today, and they were like Bro, you gotta go to jail, you gotta prison. Man. I don't know what his plan was. I don't know, but I've got a feeling. I do know actually, and we'll get to that. Yeah, I don't know, I don't know. I do know. And then I've always known. And then he goes to the bank, one of the banks he defrauded, and we get our last video that anybody's ever captured of John Rufo. Oh, first of all, saw the creepy faces in the back. Okay, this is eight and ATM FEDA HE PULLS OUT Six hundred from the ATM and at the end of this video he actually looks up at the Cameron smiles at it and it's the last time anyone's ever seen John Rufe. No, and hours later he was supposed to report to jail. Obviously didn't. His wife's just at the chiropractor. Yeah, she's getting aligned and she has no idea he's supposed to be at prison that day. And so she actually gets a phone call from the FBI and they're like screaming at them, at her, trying to figure out, hey, where's your husband, and he's like she's like, I don't know. He went to work after he dropped off of the chiropractors. You check the Duncan on fifty three. It's where he told me it goes every day. And so they ended up at investigating and a couple days later they found that rental car in one of the extended lots at JFK and to this. So with this money, yeah, he boarded a flight, presumably somewhere, to anywhere. He had six hundred and you buy a plane to go with cash. Yeah, I think so. I especially that. Then you could go back. Then you go. I'm saying I think so now, you now. I think so. Now. I don't know why you couldn't. It's money. Yeah, F I'm thinking this is why you wouldn't be able to. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe, I'm sure you can. I don't I don't see why they could. I mean, I see why they might want to not, but I don't see how they could legally say no, you can't buy this with cash like that. That doesn't make sense to me. I mean it makes sense, but doesn't make sense, you know. But anyways, they found that car at that lot and it that was one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight. To this day no one has any idea where John Rufo went. The FB he's on the FBI's fifteen most wine list and they still and found him. But like, how is he making it? There's a lot of questions there. There's theories. Hey, thanks for checking out this episode. If you like our show, make sure to leave a podcast review in whatever platform you use, or, if you're on Youtube, drop a comment if you want to listen to another episode. My favorite right now is Jose, can sayco it's this guy in the MLB who really brought steroids mainstream for the sport and did a lot of other just absolutely insane stuff, and there might be a little bit of aliens in it. So check that episode out. It's one of my favorites. But thanks for being here. Let's look at the backstory. I think we need to start with the backstory. Okay, so John Ruffo, where's his wife now? And, I don't know, New York or something, probably still she's a she's right the chiropractor. She's missed at the chiropractor for well, any time, thinking that day. All right. So he just leaves his wife with the chiropractor. Yeah, goes to the US martial office, they take off his ankle monitor. Yeah. GOES TO JFK, yeah, long term parking, yeah, which they never checked, by the way. Yeah, and then your car is not safe at long term parking. Up. And then dips out, yeah, with the six hard dollars cash. Yep, and probably use most that on his fight. That's why I'm saying yeah. So I'm I'm wondering he didn't have access to the three hundred fifty million the theories there's theories. Okay. So so let's look. Let's look at the back story, right. He was born in Brooklyn in one thousand nine hundred and fifty four. Wait, how do I say that? Before Brooklyn? No, it was the bronx box. That brook is the same. Brooklyn's born in Brooklyn in one thousand eight hundred and fifty four. And you saw that picture of him. He's the best way to describe them as George to Stayanza. He's got look at his eyes, Dude. Yeah, he's got male pownern book. He had pink guy when he came to this thing. You know what he looks like? He looks like got copy in my hometown, you know, just like I imagine a police officer in the town of three thousand people with zero crime. A former CO worker of his described him as he's kind of like a computer nerd, and the thing with most computer nerds is once you get to know him, like at first they're kind of awkward and uncomfortable, but let's get to know him, they're actually kind of Nice guys. But Not John Rifo. He was really rude and awkward the whole time. Okay, but yeah, he's got male, Poun bodness, little mustache and he's just the picture they use for the most wanted list. Yes, okay. anyways, so he was a computer nerd his whole life. Love computers from an early age and when, after he got married, married his high school sweetheart. After got married, he started a Computer Services Company called CCS, which stood for cemetery computer services, because they were deal so good you'll die. That's not true, though, because they's first his first client was a cemetery. They digitized all of their paperwork, which was really early to do. Yeah, like they right, yeah, yesssies doing that and over the course of the next few years they kind of blew up doing this for a lot of clients and he got to the point where he made a relationship with IBM and became an IBM reseller of IBM computers. Okay, and kind of his big break that really exploded his company was he made a deal with Philip Morris, which you may know from popular brands like Marlborough or just about every brand of cigarette actually, and Jewell they do it all. So a very, very large company, especially in that time. That was before we realize cigarettes were really that was one we were allowed to have cartoon camels be like Hey, kids, why don't you try spoken? Yep, exactly. Actually, so massive company made a deal with him to supply all of their computers for the whole company. Will. So it's a huge deal, and he was just reselling IBM to them for yeah, while doing that deal he made a relationship with the guy named at Rhiners, who was a executive at Philip Morris, who they hit it off, became really close friends and everybody described it as a very odd relationship. They couldn't figure out why ED and John became friends, because Ed, he is your stereotypical like college Frat Bro Turn Wolf of Wall Street C Guy. Yeah, yeah, not just like the not cool, but like the thinks's cool, like womanizer, Douche. Yeah, drives the Consule, like yes, yeah, himself, works out eight times a day, right, right, all right, but for some reason him and John became like best friend. John was like the opposite of that. Okay, yeah, he's that's like us. One of us is like rich, hot, works out every day and it's just rich, and the other one is married. I guess. I don't know. What do you have? Goorks on computers every day. Some computers every day. For now. EAT SALSA for lunch. No, don't act like what you ate was salsa. Okay, what? No, shut upterally saw shut your month. Is it on the CAN? What Tim made for lunch? Where's my camera? What timmate for lunch today? And this is what he's eating, since, I don't know we were. This is a college person thing to eat. Tim Buys Twenty five cent cans. They still twenty. His inflation gotten to other like seventy two now. Yeah, so cans of tomato sauce. And I say tomato sauce, I mean it's like it's just tomato sauce with a little bit of spice in it. What's it called? Alpato. Il Poto stands for the duck. Yeah, I'll PATO tomato sauce, Mexican hot style. Right, it's kosher. Look at you, it's and then he takes all the bottoms of every canter rusty like that too, brandon n strata us. They really are, though. And and then he he just pours that into a bowl and then takes nacho cheese dourritos and then dip those others cheese Doritos and eats that food. I'm time in. He comes in here and he goes. I don't know why I feel crappy. Seven, I don't know why. Sorry, let me say it is good. I don't know why go crabby. Two, seven. Okay, first of all, I don't know why. I don't know why I feel erribols on. Go to go to your local Walmart. They will have it in stock. It's in where all of your international foods are, and that I'll it'll be. You'll find it. They've got three different flavors. Yellows the best yellows. Not a flavor you can't think. Yellows the best. Those the best. You get like four cans for less than four dollars and then go bag. Usually get four cans for a dollar. Used to when we were in college, you would go buy those. You had a your closet and Advanngel was full of these. It was it was like kind of our patron when we live together had I usually had about twenty on hand. Yeah, I have about ten progress, but and then we'll get yourself a family sized bag of dirto's and sit down and eat that. You know what you can dress, so listen to what you just said. That's A. that's a that's a bit that I used to have or like. Yeah, I knew I was overweight because I always ate things and everything I ate said family size on it. That's A. That's A. I was four pounds. Dude, once you get and then for dessert to seat a dozen cupcakes, you're not gonna live forever. I'm just nobody's gonna live forever. You're not either. You gotta die something, I'm telling you, guys. Go, go, buy some, eat it. It'll change your life. It's not bad, but it's not worthy doing extra work. If you're going out of your way to do this, don't. It's great, it's so good. Give it a try. It's part of timps. Don't get well quick track. Yeah, there you go. And if you go to Alpatocoma tilling, you can use Promo Code, the Yellow One. What are you doing right now? I'm email on them. You're emailing Alpato. Yeah, they don't check their email. With a rusted cane that I don't think. I they have email. They have an email. Cinda a hard letter. It's not alpatacom. I'll Pados the brand name their company. I don't know. If you can see it on here. I can't remember the name of the company I follow on Instagram. Why? Because I love it. It's really, really good. Okay, the brain. I follow, my screaming only account I follow. anyways. So this Guy Ed runners in him become really good friends and everybody thought it was some reason was odd. Yeah, well, come to find out, ed got fired from Philip Morris and so he was hanging out at the office with John and they were working on a new business idea to oh so I did not work there. Well, he did work at he used to, but he got fired. You got five. He was just hanging out as if he worked there. Yeah, and I like this. Him and John Rufo started working on a new duce idea. Yeah, I work here. Yeah, no, you don't. I mean I I'm here every day working what you termor you were seen me. Yeah, you see me here every day. So the you do that at McDonald's? Do you think you could? Do you think you could do that? Like McDonald's real harder. They have uniforms. Find a place that doesn't have uniforms. It has to be like relatively large, like I feel like the smallest place could be like a Walmart type play. That's true. Like it would have to be a place where it's like you might not know for the employee. You know, like you probably see them around, but like you might not. You might just assume, oh, hey, that's just a new guy, you know. Okay, but I gotta like McDonald's. I don't think there's there's enough people on a shift as too tight, tight quarters, I think. Okay, probably give it a shot. Let us know how it goes. Okay, so they start looking working on this new business idea that was going to be this computer sophtmore platform. They like had all these ideas for it, but they didn't start like actually working on it right. It just were like brainstorming this idea and they thought it was kind of crazy. They're like this idea kind of crazy. That's what they said. They but they were known around the office, says. They called it project star, and so what they were doing, what they started doing, is they would go to all these different banks to pitch the idea, okay, to try to get a loan to get project star off the ground. Right. What was the project star? Let me double check. Hold on, give me one second. Project starcom telling prode star was this idea for. Okay, imagine a yearbook, but it's online, right, and what did? You could look up old classmates and you could see if they were married, single. Yeah, it. We want to make high school reunions obsolete. That's our this shit. So I was wrong. It wasn't. had nothing to do with software. Barbecue place close. They were trying to produce smokeless cigarettes. Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, and so they were going to go back to Philip Morris and like a vape Pin Kinda yeah, or they were just trying to figure out how to make cigarettes less cancers to people around them. I think maybe more like that. I think maybe that was more the idea. I think because because I think around then, like you started having this like there was this new trend of hey, smoking is really bad for everybody. Yeah, yeah, and so they were trying to get ahead of that. And so they are cigarettes that working to have any smoke. Crazy idea. I don't know how that whatever. Were the corner of the bank, right, and that time they're still smoking the bank this you can't see my face right now. All this spent. Your eyes burned. Yeah, that's why his eyes are read that picture so they went to this bank, they pitched the idea and they got a thirteen million dollar alone off of it. Like the bank was like this a great idea, and I walked out of that that meeting saying that went way better than we thought it was going to go. Well, yeah, we expected three thousand dollars. We expected them to say this is a stupid idea, this is never going to work, and they got worner with thirteen million. Walked out with a thirteen million dollar long to start this business. And so instead of starting the business, they just started spending all the money not on business stuff, on Limos and partying and all this stuff during the work day. So He's supposed to be working. John and Ed go to a club and drink and party and all that stuff, and then club during the daytime. Yeah, and then that is rough. Five o'clock hits and they go home. He goes in there like all right, pass America House. How to go back to my wife watches the new episode of Seinfeld. Time go back to my high school. Sweetheart. Hey, we're Bab long day, Duncan tell you, duck, it was great. And he's just drunk and he's like I can't even stand. I was such an exhausting I gotta sit down. I'm so dight. Hey, you sit down. I did say you could use you should. You should sit down. You are sitting down. You are literally sitting down right now. I sit down, you're sitting down already. Hmm Hmmm. MMM. So the there's they're blowing all this money. Oh yeah, and then fourteen million dollars and the banks like, Hey, you gotta pay that back. Yeah, the then they get a bill for a thirteen million dollar long like their first payment. Well, that's a lot of money. So they go and they say, let's go a no loan, let's go pitch this to another bank. And they did it and they started just pan every other bank with another loan and they just started going down the line, Yours, floating thirteen million around. Eventually it totals over thirt three hundred fifty million dollars worth of loans that they got from dozens of banks all across Manhattan because apparently everybody like apparently they were really good at pitching this, like apparently they had created a great but I mean, if you pay off one of them, you're only owing thirteen million. Dollars. Well, it wasn't the concert. What was happening when you were paying off? That makes sense. That makes yeah, they were going and spinning and then they were just paying the email, the minimums, as they were coming through a minimum payment on a thirteen million dollar loan, and then they were just living crazy life like you know what, don't we worry about the government's going to forgive all this day? Eventually they have to. They have to. Yeah, what are they gonna do? It's three hundred and fifty million dollars. See, million dollars. What are they gonna do? WHAT THEY gonna do it? Okay, stop us. I work at Duncan. What are they gonna say? You gotta pay US three to fifty million dollars. Yeah, I'm never gonna have that much. What are they gonna say? Was Skill alone? What's just get another load? Hey, smokes cigarettes. You know exactly where, a little, lot, a lot, exactly where I'm going. You Ready? Yeah, attle hold on, we're thinking the same thing. That's gonna Beautiful. If not, as would be really weird. Let's take it. Got You ready? HMM, sharks. You got it from it wasn't it until it was a good tell it was. It was so good as good setup. Hello Sharks, we're looking for three hundred fifty million dollars. It's a small donation. So here's the thing about when you take out three hundred fifty million dollars from dozens of banks across Manhattan, the FBI don't talk. Well, the FBI says, Huh, I wonder what they're doing. Let's take a look. So they got audited and FBIBOB I do that is the irs, the CIA or the Dia or the DEA or the or the FDA or or the NCAA or the WNBA, one of the WWF or the Ky three, because we care. O my God. Okay, so off track. So this is what they try to do. The frodive. The FBI is FBI, you mean FDAFDM is trying to like a really, the FBI, we're here to ask with a three hundred fifty million dollars. Oh, hello, FBIBI. Okay, so the FBI is like, well, hold on a minute, yeah, your cigarettes are still smoking. Yeah, those are some pretty smoky cigarettes you're smoking right there. So they get added in and they both get convicted, arrested. I should say they will get arrested, but there are mean, they're they're both putting their names on this. Yeah, yeah, and so they both get put up on a ten million dollar bail, which is like which is there, like pull it from the account, like, Hey, could I get like two days? I just need to go to the bank. Yeah. So they get put up on on ten million dollar bales and Ed doesn't have anybody who can pay it. So nobody pays that ten million. Does John Get stuck in there? John? John. No. John's family goes and they said, we can't get ten million. But they came to the Judgehn said what goes to the bank and they're looking, we've got an idea for smokeless cigarettes. They get thirteen million dollars. All right, they go pay his bail. Yeah, yeah, and then with the other three they start a business like real life. You wanted you watch uncut Jim's no, I think a Jim. The whole movie is He's just paying off one debt with borrow money from another person. You know, it's just like a fast bit, like it's all in that little it's anxiety the whole time. So stressful. But that's what this that's what this is it's they're doing. They were just borrowing more to borrow more. Well, his family, they they have no idea that John's doing this. His family and so his wife, who he's been married for seventeen years, he's like goes tos arrested me for no reason. Yeah, I went to work at Duncan today. Yeah, you pull out money from my k. So John's wife goes to their family and they come to the judge and they said, hey, we can't give you ten million dollars, but what if we offer up our house? All of our homes is clateral. So they put up his and his wife's home, they put up his parents home, they put up his parents, like his wife's parents home, and his aunt and uncle and two sets of hurt aunt uncle's homes. So it was nowhere near ten million, but it was enough homes where the judge was like, okay, if he was going to skip bail on this, there's enough people who are going to be their homes that they're going to find him. Yeah, and also it's like that's his mom and his mother in law and anybody who would help him. Yeah, skip bail. Yeah, these are all like the closest people to him, and so it's pretty unlikely that he's willing to screw this many people. And even if he is, like they're the most likely people like that would help or be able to find him. So they they allowed him to come out on bail, which was pretty unusual. Well, it was like meet me too and know it. They're like, you don't have a family. Everybody who loves you left you because you suck. Yeah, I have a family. I have a family who put their houses in the line for me and for that reason I'm out. I was pretty proud of that. That's good. That's good. Hey, thank you again for listening to this episode. Making sure that you don't miss one in the future, go ahead and subscribe to this podcast, whether that be on apple podcast, spotify youtube. You'll get it alert when we drop a new episode. And if you want more, if you want something a week early, you want to be part of our discord, more access to us as creators, you can support this show on patreon. Helps us go a long way. Nothing that we're doing is possible without our patreon supporters. If you want more information about that, please text tilling to six, six eight hundred and sixty six. Thank you, so much for being here. So John gets out on bail. Yeah, and while he's out on bail is when they make this deal for the self surrender. So fast forward. The story goes to prison or get out. Long between arrest and that trial was this whole process, we know, because what eds and in jail the whole time, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, he actually, I think it's still in jail. We could get him out. They got run through the woods and Tennessee, you can make it at the Barklay Marathon? Did you could have your feet. What if that's what the Broccoley beer thought was? It's all the prisoners from that prison. Yeah, it's like anybody who makes it to the and get them. Hey, you're treading on some real dystopian nightmare stuff. So maybe let's see. It was a long time. I think he got arrested in ninety six and ninety eight was win that? Yeah, conviction happened. I was worn along like a long period. And so he leaves and that FIS trying to figure out where he is. The Marshal trying to figure out where he is. No one knows. On Bai only doesn't know. Now. This is after is after after the conviction and he fly, flies somewhere, allegedly. Yeah, well, they're trying to figure out where he went and they have like nothing to go off. The leads has I and even the family has no idea. But the families not not helping, and so they had to do the the FBI did the only thing they could think of, which was the only clatter they had, and they seized all those homes. So his wife, both of his sets, his parents, his inlaws, his aunt and uncle, and then her two sets of her own uncle's all had their homes seized because they said, well, maybe if we do this, he'll come back and be like, I can't put okay, so imagine I'm seeing. Imagine aunt and uncle, right, yeah, imagine that. You've worked your whole life, all right, because all these people are elderly at this point, I'm saying tired. We were to our whole lives. And then my brother's kid wife, my brother's my kids, brother's daughter's husband is an idiot. Yeah, and you're like, I barely know him. I see him at Thanksgiving every once in a while. Sure, and I don't like. I don't like he's weird, I don't like right he's weird. Yeah, I don't dude. How I would describe him is he's a computer nerd, you know, and sometimes you meet him and you're like these guys very nice, but he's just not, you know, and he kind of sucks. But it like we really love her. She's our nice you know. And so I mean, I guess there's no way he would really mess u up this much and take our home. And then the government shows up at your house and it's like hey, yeah, yeah, turns out, you know how you thought he sucked. Yeah, he does stands out. He really does say yeah, and they the police just showed up and was like hey, you guys are moving. Yeah, and they're just like, Yep, give us this house. Yeah, they literally they like shut up and they said, hey, you guys have an hour, you're moving, and then they change the locks and like that's stresses me so sad and to me, like I don't know, that part as a story frustrates the heck out of me because it's like I don't know, like I know that that was the case in technically agreement. You knew what you were signed up for. Yeah, but at the same time it's like there comes a point where, like, you just kind of have to be a human and say as when you're the judge, like you got Ba yeah, like these people didn't do anything wrong. John did well, but you don't know if any of these people are helping him be gone. I think at this point they knew that they didn't, because because that they've taken them all on for questioning. They've done all this, like they've they heard other leads. I think at this point they know if he started access to all this money. Yeah, well, okay, so they did. They were able to collect at the point of his arrest, about three hundred and like thirty eight million dollars. Yeah, so there was about seventeen million that was unaccounted for. So they probably spent a lot. Yeah, but there's probably still some other money that they don't have a paper trill for, which we can get to that. I guess maybe not. Was a good time for some theories. There's five theories about what happened. Oh my Josh. Okay, first, he left a suicide note on his dining room table when he left. The problem with the suicide wrote note, though, is that his wife doesn't believe it. She said it was it was super cold and like and even like some like psychologists have read it and said that this doesn't check out as a suicide. Yeah, someone who is this is a like you're covering up for. Yeah, you're trying to make everyone think you killed yourself because, like he it's very cold. He says he reached his breaking point, but then, other than that, he says he like he had no choices. Just understand, like this is me beating them and he's decided to give himself to God. But didn't say anything about like the relationship, like didn't a lot of a lot of did mentioned Ed, didn't mention had a lot of them. A lot of times in suicide knows, people apologize for the making it. He didn't apologize, like it was just he's doing this to beat just like yeah, I'm gone now. Yeah, yeah, pretty much like I'm out of here, so don't bother looking for me. Yeah, you're never gonna him into dead. Yeah, so nobody leaves that, not even his wife. The next big theory is that he's just hiding out in plain sight, that he's living somewhere in the country and probably had changed his appearance a little bit. You're and I'm connect for this and it just kind of live in his life. They say now he'd be sixty seven and he's just trying to blend into the crowd these days. I mean, that would exactly took a few million dollars as living off of that cash money, and is just I mean, if you needed to disappear and you shaved and then just gained fifty pounds, you would not be ye, as recognizable. Shave your head, like shave a shave whatever facial or you have, go to the PLACETA surgeon, or just hit yourself in the face of the brick a few times. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, just break your nose as years, because they break themselves in the face. But here's here's the interesting part about this. This will sound familiar to you because a few years ago, in two thousand and sixteen, the US marshals received a tip that someone thought they spotted him Adam La dodgers game. What no, way, is a video from the game. He was in the second row behind home plate, a man who looks similar, yeah, to yeah, you do what he would look like if he was you know tell the looks like a hit in the face of the brick. In this picture. I love they blurred this guy's face, like it makes a difference if it wasn't a pretty supero like here's a super blory photo. Let's really make sure that no one identifies this guy. That actually the other guy was holding up like a little bit. Looks like they took a picture of their TV on the Nokia phone. Well, here's the thing, here's the thing. He was there was no shot where someone's looks like a picture you look at and you be like, yeah, there's a face. They're like what you would show somebody back. There's a ghost. You see, it's a fake. You see the face, but that's what this looks like the guy. Well, they ended up contacting the dodgers, figuring out what seat that was and who purchased that seat, and they found that guy and the FBI went and they got him to agree to get fingerprinted, and so you got fingerprinted. The issue was it wasn't a match. So the guy, while he looks a lot like him, he doesn't. You can't, I don't know if he doesn't mean. Look at this, he kind of looks like them. And look at that. He got a yeah, like he looks like if someone went to party city and got a John Ruffoam mask like you know, like you know those really baggy like JFK masks like, or Nixon masks like. That's what this looks like. Like you, if you want to this, if you're watching the LA daughters game, there's someone wearing a Nixon mask behind home plate, though. You know, I thought I'd be like that's John Rufolk. Mass mandate still in effect. I gotta, I have to wear this. Yeah, so that that lead came up to EMP team. But there's been a long running theory that he's just out here somewhere in the country, just living off cash, yeah, and laying low, obviously far away from his family and friends and everyone whoever new one so la would check out because he always lived. What if he's one of the police officers in Mount Vernon where? I was like, he looks like a COP Mon Vernon. You know, I'm Brad. I'm Brad, I'm glad. I'm Brad. I'm Brad. I'm glad you brought that up because there's a picture of him that has sparked a lot of controversy of him with the FBI and to his left, right there, he's holding the gun very inappropriately to well, to the left of him, right there is the assistant director of the FBI. I. That's the the blurry face next to him. Yeah, who was also saying they so what the dodgers say? Blurry face, everyone's face, the BLURD. He's holding that gun. Is that a gun he's holding? That's a gun. Yeah, he's not holding that. Well, yeah, he's got that up there like he's got his singer on the sugar. Yeah, he's never held a gun before. Best, that's not him. That's him. That's him. Was He in the FBI? No, what is this? So this is a very interesting thread. John will tell you, and he was rather open with selling computers, but was rather open with his co workers, that he had a government contract that he worked on and it was highly secretive and he would tell his employees. Is the conspiracy of the FBI helped him get away. So he would tell of his employees. He would say, Hey, I'm going to be working on this government contract. Please do not project Duncan and he would close closes office door and he'd be in there for hours working on this. That's the that's the bet. Like of course that's what you would do. Is You guys. Hey, guys, I'm we're gonna when it come over here. I'm working on very secret things. I've working on super secret government documents. When ed shows up with two women, they are with the FBI, don't say anything. Just let them in. Don't say anything, don't say a word. Yeah, but he he talked. He was pretty opened with the fact that he worked on a very secretive government contract and he would let things slip a lot to say that like the work he did was like saving us from nuclear oblivion in the Cold War. Yeah, if it's true, we don't know, but what we do know is that that we do know have documents. That these that is tie is the same pattern as a hotel conference room. The carpet you're entire about. Yeah, that is that is the Oh, that's pretty bad. Well, the FBI was recred of working with him. Oh, okay, what they what the records say, though, is that it was minor computer work. That he's obviously then. What is unusual, though, is if he was working on some minor computer projects, why does he have a picture with the assistant director of the FBI and why did they let him hold a gun in the picture? Yeah, but he clearly doesn't know how to hold it. Doesn't know how to hold a gun with playing it straight up with his finger in the trigger. Yeah, and he's got the TAG team like they've got like this isn't a serious FBI team. Is there a full picture of this? Yeah, there, I mean there's more people in the I don't see the context. If it's possible. Yeah, let me this is obviously this is zoomed in. Yeah, let me see if I can get that. Is that how tall the assistant director is? He's obviously sitting down. For the listeners, it is just because it dim damp. He doesn't look like a freaking we got big as eye sockets. Look on that picture, because he's worse sunglasses, I hope. If not, he's got two big dark circles for eyes. Holy Cow Man, was he a little Goblin? So, yes, so the theory here what? They helped him. He did something for the FBI. Yeah, he was like, I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine. Yeah, and so they helped him. They helped him get wet Ed, take the fall for it, take my aunt and uncle's house. Yeah, yeah, who cares? But he knows the assistant director well a picture with somebody doesn't mean they know them. But yes, I mean, yeah, that's true, but anyways. So I have to keep making that distinction because you see how many politicians get destroyed from people who are like, Oh, look, he's got pictures with this person, and it's like yeah, but if someone comes to my show and takes a picture with me and then does something insane, yeah, it doesn't mean that doesn't mean like yeah, yeah, you just took a picture with them, but I mean like, I don't know, like how often are how often does the like here? They have an SBI hat, yeah, and take a picture with us, hold my gun, like like it's unusual. It doesn't seem like something you would do for just some guy who did some computer work for your agency. It is a little odd that he have a computers with new is a new thing. Maybe, I don't know. I I think it's I think it's odd that he got this picture, given the work that they have to sure he did. If he did something closer, I bet. I'm sure he embellished, but if he did something closer to what he said, it would make more sense that he got this picture. But if all he did was sell them some computers and set them up for him. To me, that makes no sense. Like my he would have this picture. But anyway. So the theory is that the FBI helped him get off with it, because there is that missing money. Yeah, and if he does know, the director of the FBI just paid it off. Yeah, Hey, I'll cut you. Yeah, I'll see you seven million dollars if you make me disappear. And the FBI would know how to do that. I'm sure they do it all the time, help people disappear. I don't know if they help people disappear with that. Make him disappear. You know, they some say you don't exist anymore. Have Fun in New Mexico, John Rufo, or should I say John Ralphuel, fun in Indiana. Theories. We are two more. Yeah. So the next theory is that the Russians are hiding him. So some MOMS comes back. So this was Cold War era. This this was end of Cold War era, right. But there was a this what he was working with the FBI. There is a storyline that he had worked with the Russians, like what he was supposed to be doing for the FBI was he was doing it for Russia to take Russia down he was. He was a double agent for Russia and there was an interesting segment in the story because his employees retell that there was a moment when he was working on that government contract when there was a set of two people who had desks from the government that we're working with them, but they said that he did. Both those people had very thick Russian accents and they both wore holsters on their ankles with guns in them. And they want to talk to anyone. I'm glad you clarified. Guns, holsers angles for slaves. One guy is really was a big snacker to which down is their gob stoppers down there, you know. So. And they wouldn't talk to anyone. They just come in, do their work all day and leave and they had their little little guns. But that the Russian accents and so okay. The theory is that he was a double agent and he had ties to Russian. Russia saved him. Yeah, and they chipped them off to Russia and they said you're one of us. Now say goodbye to John Ruffo. You're now John Russia. U Yourd okay, and the evidence for this is a picture of if you're audio listener, you can't see it on the screen right now, but it's John Rufo and Putin next to each other. So in front of a boarding building. It's it's they yeah, it's pretty it goes hard man, so bull shirtless for some reason. Yeah, clearly not their torso, yeah, yeah, for shot. I. The other theory is that he moved to Italy with help from the Mafia. I was going onder of the Mafia was going to be involved. Yeah, yeah, he is Italian. Yes, he's pay them off pretty easy. He comes from Italian descent. But it's more than that. His Barber was Italian and actually a few years after John disappeared, his barber move back home to Italy. Also, his office, John Ruffo's office, was in the same building of this restaurant where a famous mob boss by the name of Paul Castello was gunned down in this office are in that restaurant. Yeah, like very famously, while John Rufe was still worked there. And so some people think that he might have been connected to that, because employees said that all day, even prior to the event, he was acting very erratic that day, as if he knew what was going to happen that day. He's walk around the office going down. Yeah, yeah, and then like like they hear these tire screens. He's like, turn on the news, and then they hear all the shots and it's like, would you know? Something hold on happening here, it seems like. So there's theories that he was connected to the mob. They're all theories and the ideas the mob helped ship them off to Italy. Yeah, there, we already cover this one. The auto, the FBI, my bad. The addition thing, the addition to this one that makes it a little bit more credible, is his wife said that during that month where he was supposed to sell surrender, before he sells surrendered, he said that. She said there was one time that made me think maybe he was planning on doing something weird, and it was for dinner. He said, can we have LASAGNA, and I was like you never ask for this. He said, I just want to try it. I just want to, I want I've always wondered, I just do want to lasagna. I wondered what life would be like if all I was looking before I go to prison. Maybe I don't know. The trial hasn't happened. Jill, still pending. Yeah, so what is that fig on your ankle. It's where I keep my twizzlers. So his wife, his wife said that what he one time he just randomly was like, Hey, what if we moved to Italy? And she was like, she's like, he's probably in Italy, because one time he was like, what if we move to Italy? Well, no, I was during this period before he left. Oh yeah, if I disappear, he just raised going to be like, you know where he's always wanted to go? A cruise ship. Was this pizza place in North Kansas City. Re meet and Tim drive past this piece of place all the time on our way to lunch and every time we oh, we need to try that. So I'm saying, if I disappear, you're gonna one of the police and be like he's always wanted to go to that Pizza Nice. Yeah, he y plays this video game called the watcher. So to this day no one's found. He could be an Italy, could be in Russia, he could have paid off the FBI. He could be dead, honestly, sixty seven, like he could have died in naturally positive and now healthy. Yeah, or he's just living in plain sight out there in the world. He could be he could be in one of the cars that drives. But I was little, damn it, I hate the you did that. I was little about to be like. I mean, he could be look out your window right now. Yeah, he I could be one of them. He could be across the street in a window with the BNOCULARS watching you open up your briefcase. He could be in the Appalachian Mountains. You know. Do you know how many marathons you be a lot to run if you had seventeen million dollars? The interviews are dollar sixty and a pack of smokeless cigarettes. Wait a minute. Anyway, I really think what happened is he paid off the director of the FBI. Yeah, I think I've put in its. Devil helped him do it. Satan. He was like, please, Satan Dears, see, here's Satan. If you give me having this, I'll give my life to you. I'll give you thirteen million dollars. Fiddle off, joenre. Things of the last night is a production of space tim media produced by Christian Taylor. Audio is edited by Alice Garnett, video by conner best, social media is run by Caleb Walker and graphic designed by Caleb Goldberg. Our hoster, Jeremyers and Tim Stone. Please follow us on social media at tilling podcast. That's Tillo in podcast. Leave a review, comment, subscribe wherever you are. Thank you for listening to things on the last night.

What are the names that come to mind when you think of bank robbers? For many, names like Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger, and maybe even certain GTA V characters fill the mind. However, these robbers don’t even scratch the surface. While, technically, not a bank robber, John Ruffo conned a few dozen banks out of more than $350 million. His case is the most expensive bank fraud in American history. What’s more, he got away with it.

Who is John Ruffo

John Ruffo is likely the most successful conman in history. He managed to steal more money than anyone else before him or since, but he also got away with it. John came from humble beginnings in New York City. But, due to a computer passion, he began pursuing a computer resale business called CCS. Over the years, his company grew and signed on a few high-profile clients, including Marlboro and the FBI.

Ruffo was described as a bit of a nerdy man and slightly rude. However, despite his somewhat poor reputation, it is evident that John was brilliant. You can’t do the things he did without a few smarts.

Self Surrender

All good things come to an end. After conning a few dozen banks out of more than $350 million, John and his partner Ed Reiners were arrested and booked on a $10 million bail.

Early in his trial process, John’s lawyer secured a self-surrender agreement for his client. Such contracts are incredibly rare in cases like Ruffo’s because the court had determined he was a high flight risk. In addition, he was facing 18 years in prison for his crimes. So it is no big surprise that while on house arrest, John Ruffo managed to escape. The man has not been seen since 1998.


The theories of what happened to John Ruffo and what allowed him to escape are numerous. However, perhaps the most exciting part of this case is that the Ruffo managed to stay hidden. So few criminals can survive a life on the run without giving themselves up at some point. Everyone ends up making a mistake or reaching back out to loved ones. But not John Ruffo, it has been nearly 25 years, and there is still no sign of John. He may make it to the grave without rousing the suspicion of the FBI.

The story of John Ruffo is incredible, and there are many twists and turns. To learn about the events leading to his arrest, the theories surrounding his escape, and more about the case, watch or listen to this episode of Things I Learned Last Night.

Things I Learned Last Night is an educational comedy podcast where best friends Jaron Myers and Tim Stone talk about random topics and have fun all along the way. If you like learning and laughing a lot while you do, you’ll love TILLN. Watch or listen to this episode right now!




John Ruffo – Wikipedia

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