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Tale of betrayal, flight leads from Utah to Cuba

Man accused of bilking his North Salt Lake fiancee

John Bradley Egan
John Bradley Egan

Federal officials say it was a case of love betrayed in which a child-support fugitive fled from Bountiful to Mexico and then was picked up by Cuban authorities off their coast on a boat bound for Ireland.

It was more than a year ago that 42-year-old John Bradley Egan vanished amid a cloud of mystery and suspicion. Authorities said he was engaged to a North Salt Lake woman and had persuaded her to sell her condominium and run away with him to start a new life in Tampa, Fla. The plan was she would drive with her daughter to Florida, where he would meet her and the two would get married.

Little did that woman know Egan had other plans.

According to an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury this week, on June 9, 2006, Egan logged on to his fiancee's credit union account and transferred $59,400 into the couple's joint account. Egan then transferred another $50,000 into an account he shared with his mother.

Egan then called ahead to make sure the credit union had enough cash so he could withdraw the funds, telling one clerk over the phone, "How do bank robbers get away with so much money if you don't carry that much money in the branch?"

The indictment also says that a day earlier he showed up at his mother's home "to say goodbye" and she noticed his car was packed with his belongings. Later the mother told agents she noticed that her and her husband's passports and Social Security cards were missing from their home safe. Egan was never heard from again.

Relatives figured Egan had fled to Mexico because he talked about traveling there a lot. Two years before, Egan took his son on a trip to Tampico, Mexico, and mentioned to his fiancee, listed in the indictment as "L.C.," that he had friends there.

The mother of Egan's son at one point was told by Egan that "he would rather leave the United States and go to Mexico or Canada than pay the money he owed for child support," the indictment says.

Court records show that at the time of his disappearance, Egan was being prosecuted on two third-degree felony counts of criminal nonsupport in state court for allegedly failing to pay child support. When Egan failed to show up for court hearings that July, a warrant for his arrest was issued.

State officials also charged him with felony counts of communications fraud and theft by deception, and a $200,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

Fast forward to July 23 of this year, when the FBI was informed that Egan had been picked up by Cuban authorities off their coast in a broken-down boat. Cuban authorities reported that the boat had mechanical trouble, and they believed Egan had attempted to travel from Mexico to Ireland. Egan was found traveling on a false passport, one with his true name and picture but with an incorrect passport number, the indictment says.

Eventually, Cuban officials offered Egan up to U.S. authorities in an exchange arranged by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Coast Guard. He is currently being held in federal custody in Miami, awaiting transport back to Utah to face federal counts of bank fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft.

If convicted, Egan faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years for bank fraud, five years for computer fraud and two years for identity theft. The government also is seeking forfeiture of the boat and $109,900 that Egan is accused of taking from his fiancee's bank account. The credit union reimbursed "L.C." for the money taken but is seeking to recoup the loss.