Attorney General's office closer to extraditing Sauter back to territory


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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Attorney General's Office is one step closer to getting its hands on Rosemary Sauter.

Local authorities still are awaiting her extradition since her Jan. 30 arrest in Fallbrook, Calif., where the FBI had tracked her down based on a federal warrant that was issued a few months after the territory issued a warrant for Sauter's arrest in February 2010.

Sauter had a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Diego, Calif., according to V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer, though Frazer could not provide details about the nature of the court appearance.

Since her arrest, Sauter, 62, has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Service at the Metropolitan Corrections Center in San Diego.

The formerly successful St. Thomas realtor fled the territory in February 2010 after catching wind of possible local fraud and embezzlement charges being filed against her.

On Feb. 13, an order by the U.S. District Court in San Diego instructed the U.S. Marshal Service to release Sauter and the federal court to dismiss her case.

That move by the federal court was part of the process of extraditing Sauter back to the territory, according to the V.I. Attorney General's Office.

The order for release and dismissal only is so that the V.I. authorities can take over, Frazer said.

"There is still a case," he said.

There was a mix up about who ultimately was handling Sauter's case because she had two warrants, Frazer said. Because the charges stem initially from the V.I. Attorney General's Office, the case primarily will be handled by local authorities, he said.

Still, local authorities have to wait until she arrives back in the Virgin Islands before they can proceed, Frazer said.

U.S. Attorneys in San Diego could not be reached Tuesday regarding the hearing.

Sauter's online court records no longer were available to the public as of Tuesday.

Prior to her disappearance, Sauter was a successful realtor and had the largest realty office on St. Thomas by early 2010, about 14 years after she illegally acquired her real estate license in the territory. She operated a real estate office, an accounting firm and a restaurant-bar.

She also had been the president of the V.I. Territorial Board of Realtors and the St. Thomas Board of Realtors.

Sauter is accused of absconding with more than $3 million of her clients' and fellow investors' money, and she faces charges of embezzlement, grand larceny and obtaining money by false pretenses.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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