MANILA - One of the United States’ most wanted fugitives was arrested in Manila Saturday night after eight years of hiding in the Philippines.
Peter Leus, accused of defrauding New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey of $1.7 million, was nabbed in his house in Sta. Ana at about 8 p.m.
Chief Inspector Bernouli Abalos, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Cavite, said Leus was about to go to church and had just opened the house gate when he was arrested.
“He initially resisted, asked us why he was being arrested. After we explained that we had a warrant, we handcuffed him,” Abalos told The STAR.
Abalos said Leus had been staying in the country for almost eight years – right after the Superior Court in Mercer County ordered his arrest in 2005. Based on the warrant for his arrest, Leus, a US-Filipino citizen, was wanted for theft by deception and money laundering.
According to Abalos, Leus is detained at their office in Cavite pending the suspect’s deportation.
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Leus, one of New Jersey’s 12 most wanted men, was also in the Interpol’s red notice list. According to the Interpol notice obtained by The STAR, Leus worked as a controller and assistant for the nursing home from 1999 to 2005.
The Interpol said Leus allegedly wrote over 1,000 checks and stole approximately P1.7 million from the nursing home from Jan. 1, 2003 to March 7, 2005.
Of the 1,000 checks written by Leus, he deposited 185 checks – worth $768 million – into his personal bank account, then later returned $173 million to the nursing home’s bank account. “He therefore fraudulently made a net gain of ($594 million) from New Vista bank accounts,” the notice stated.
Leus also wrote $1.1 million worth of checks payable to more than 175 nursing home employees and deposited them with “a defunct business, Comic World Enterprises, owned by him,” the Interpol said.