John Knox Bridges, the Salisbury fraud artist caught hiding in a church basement after dodging a hearing last week, will remain in jail until hes sentenced, a judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Bob Conrad revoked Bridges bond Wednesday.
Bridges, who has been convicted of devising elaborate schemes to bilk more than $2.3 million from friends and investors, was arrested Saturday night after police found him in a Salisbury church with a shotgun and a suicide note. He surrendered peacefully.
Bridges, 52, had failed to show up at a sentencing hearing on Friday.
On Wednesday, Conrad chastised Bridges attorney, Rahwa Gebre-Egziabher of the Federal Defenders Office, for failing to answer his questions at last weeks sentencing hearing.
During that hearing, Conrad asked Gebre-Egziabher to explain why Bridges didnt show. The defense lawyer declined, saying that would violate attorney-client privilege. The attorney asked to speak privately with Conrad, but the judge declined.
I think the failure to answer the courts questions is a breach of the counsels duty to the court, Conrad told her Wednesday.
That failure also exacerbated a dangerous situation, the judge said, putting Bridges, the arresting officers and the public at risk.
The U.S. Attorneys Office will determine whether Bridges will be charged with criminal contempt of court for failing to show up at his sentencing hearing.
A series of lies
In 2009, the Observer reported on allegations that Bridges made off with money from North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long, the Minnesota-based Lindbergh Foundation and the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer.
He had previously told some friends and associates that he came from a family worth billions. Bridges said he owned a corporate jet, socialized with world leaders, and served on the boards of prestigious groups, including New Yorks Guggenheim Museum.
But much of what Bridges said about himself wasnt true, the Observers investigation found.
Bridges grew up in Charlottes University City area, where his father was a respected minister at the historic Back Creek ARP church.
Last February, Bridges pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering. He could face between 57 and 71 months in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors previously said they would seek a sentence on the low end of the guidelines in exchange for Bridges cooperation.
But because Bridges failed to appear at his sentencing hearing, prosecutors are no longer bound by the plea agreement, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorneys Office said.
Bridges resentencing will be set when many of his victims can appear in court. Those victims are expected to tell the judge how Bridges hurt them.