Sauter scheduled to arrive in V.I. today or Friday


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ST. THOMAS - Rosemary Sauter is headed back to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer confirmed Wednesday that his office sent two law enforcement officers - he would not specify which territorial or federal office they were from - to retrieve Sauter from the Metropolitan Corrections Center in San Diego, Calif., this week.

Once known on St. Thomas for her realty savvy, the former businesswoman now is accused of stealing millions of dollars from her clients and fleeing the territory more than four years ago.

She is expected to arrive in the territory by plane today or Friday, Frazer said.

"She waived extradition, so that allows us to pick her up without court proceedings," he said.

After her arrival on-island, Sauter will be advised of her rights, then arraigned in V.I. Superior Court, where she is facing charges of obtaining money by false pretense; drawing and delivering worthless checks; and embezzlement, according to the affidavit.

Authorities have estimated that she could have taken more than $3 million of her clients' and fellow investors' money.

Other court documents in Sauter's case are under seal.

Sauter is accused of absconding with money from "customers of her company who believed that their funds were being held securely in the Remax Dreams Properties escrow account," Warrington Tyson Jr., a federal special officer with the FBI's Join Terrorist Task Force, wrote in the affidavit filed in federal court in February. Since then, the case since has been removed from federal court because territorial authorities now are handling the case.

Sauter was arrested on Jan. 31 at her apartment in Fallbrook, Calif., based on a federal warrant, which was in support of a territorial warrant issued by Superior Court in February 2010, just after Sauter fled the territory.

In her absence, a wide range of rumors abounded - that she gambled the money away, that she was killed and that she was living somewhere halfway across the world.

Assistant Attorney General Denise George Counts is expected to handle the case, which is classified as a white collar criminal case, Frazer said.

Before disappearing, Sauter was a successful real estate agent and had the largest realty office on St. Thomas in 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 once also had been the president of the V.I. Territorial Board of Realtors and the St. Thomas Board of Realtors.

After Sauter fled the territory, the V.I. Attorney General's Office issued a warrant for her arrest, though it was sealed. The U.S. Attorney's Office followed suit eight months later, issuing a federal warrant for Sauter's arrest in October 2010.

Since then, she has been flying under the radar, never contacting any of her family members, according to her husband, Jacob Frett, who still runs an auto shop on St. Thomas.

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

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