Sauter makes bail, with help from her husband


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ST. THOMAS - After spending almost seven months in jail, Rosemary Sauter-Frett, the former fugitive who spent almost four years on the run from law enforcement officials, has been released.

The V.I. Bureau of Corrections released Sauter-Frett, 62, from the Alexander Farrelly Criminal Justice Center on St. Thomas on Wednesday, according to corrections officials.

Court documents indicated that Sauter-Frett and her husband, Jacob Frett, a local mechanic, intended to post property on St. Thomas in lieu of a cash bond to secure Sauter-Frett's release.

V.I. Superior Court Judge Denise Francois stated in a July 18 order that she would allow Sauter-Frett, who is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting clients, to post a $300,000 bail bond.

Sauter-Frett's defense attorney, who her family members initially identified as Vincent Coliani of St. Croix, submitted that the requirement could be met in the form of four properties in the name of the Sauter-Frett Family Trust.

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

Frett also signed on to be his wife's third-party custodian, according to court documents.

Sauter-Frett's full bail amount remains at $1.25 million, which was set in Superior Court by Magistrate Carolyn Hermon-Percell in April. At the time, Hermon-Percell stated that the high bail amount was a result of Sauter-Frett's risk-of-flight status.

Prosecutors at the V.I. Attorney General's Office could not be reached Thursday to comment on whether they felt that the bail amount is appropriate.

Sauter-Frett, formerly one of the most successful Realtors on St. Thomas, 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.

She disappeared in February 2010, just before the V.I. Attorney General's Office requested and was awarded a warrant for her arrest. A federal warrant was issued in October that same year.

While U.S. Marshals came close to arresting Sauter-Frett soon after she fled initially, she was not apprehended until Jan. 30, when FBI agents confronted her at an apartment in a town outside of San Diego, Calif.

Authorities estimated that Sauter-Frett - 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.

In court, attorneys have suggested that the dollar amount is significantly more than is stated in the paperwork, possibly closer to $3 million.

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

It is not the first time that authorities have suspected Sauter-Frett of wrongdoing.

Just weeks before she went missing, her name surfaced in the trial of two former police officers and a drug dealer who were accused of extorting a suspected drug dealer, Richard Motta.

During the trial, attorneys implied that Sauter-Frett had worked with and tried to hire Motta to kill her husband, Frett.

The officers, Enrique Saldana and George Greene Jr., had seized Motta's rented vehicle on Dec. 4, 2008, at which point the vehicle contained paperwork from Sauter-Frett.

Saldana found out later about the possible hit that was in the works at Sauter-Frett's request, according to Darren John-Baptiste, who represented Saldana during the trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Lindquist also implied during the trial that Sauter-Frett had paid Motta to kill her husband.

Whether Sauter-Frett actually tried to have her husband killed never was answered in the trial and she never faced charges in connection with the claim.

In 1983, at age 29, Sauter-Frett - who was married at the time and using the name Rosemary Chernowsky - pleaded guilty to felony grand theft in California for taking more than $25,000 from Lewis W. Douglas Development Co. in February and March of 1981. She served 120 days in the San Francisco County Jail and was sentenced to five years' probation.

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

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