Judge's order clears path for Sauter to post reduced bond

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ST. THOMAS - Following a judge's order allowing her to post a reduced bail bond, former fugitive Rosemary Sauter is asking to be granted pretrial release.

Sauter, accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from local investors, was before a judge in May to have a judge set her bail.

Sauter, 62, is facing 13 counts of embezzlement by fiduciaries; two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses; one count of drawing and delivering worthless checks and one count of violating the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Initially, Magistrate Carolyn Hermon-Percell set Sauter's bail at $1.2 million, though a July 18 order from V.I. Superior Court Judge Denise Francois would allow Sauter to post a $300,000 bail bond.

Sauter and her husband, local mechanic Jacob Frett Jr., are attempting to post the bond in the form of four properties in the name of the Sauter-Frett Family Trust.

Both Sauter and her husband signed their names accepting that if Sauter's terms of release are violated, they would have to forfeit one or all of the properties, which include one parcel in Estate Bovoni, one in Estate Wintberg and two in Estate Nadir.

The V.I. Corrections Bureau confirmed that Sauter, who would be monitored electronically if released, has not yet been released, and no release date has yet been set.

According to the V.I. Attorney General's Office, Sauter left the territory on Feb. 2, 2010, just two days before the initial warrant for her arrest was issued. The office issued a second warrant in September the same year.

The FBI located Sauter in San Diego in January, and she subsequently was returned to the territory.

Authorities estimated that Sauter - while working as a Realtor on-island - illegally took at least $886,625, according to reports that the V.I. Attorney General's Office has received since its investigation began in early 2010.

Included in the Attorney General's Office reports are nine separate accounts of allegations against Sauter, all of them stemming from transactions between her and clients between Jan. 1, 2008, and Feb. 4, 2010.

The Attorney General's Office believes it came close to apprehending Sauter after issuing the first warrant, as Sauter had purchased an airplane ticket leaving from Miami.

However, she never boarded the flight.

In the years to follow, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service were on alert, keeping an eye out for Sauter. It was not until Jan. 31 that the Attorney General's Office received word of her whereabouts near San Diego.

Authorities never released further information about where she had been living, what name she had been using and how much money she had up until her capture by the FBI.

Though federal authorities apprehended Sauter, the case has been turned over to local authorities.

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

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