A federal judge in Worcester has ordered that TelexFree Inc. co-owner James Merrill be released from jail while he awaits trial in a $1 billion global fraud case.
Merrill, 53, has spent the past five weeks in a Rhode Island detention center, after prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk. His business partner Carlos Wanzeler, fled to Brazil last month before he could be arrested.
US District Judge Timothy S. Hillman ruled Tuesday that the government had not proven that Merrill, a lifelong Massachusetts resident, would flee, despite facing 20 years in prison if he is found guilty.
As conditions of his release, Merrill will wear a GPS ankle bracelet and be placed in his wife Kristin’s custody. He and his family will put up a bond of $900,000, secured by Merrill’s Ashland home, the home of his sister, Julie Merrill Wisell of Sutton, and a friend’s house in East Falmouth.
Merrill also must remain in his house every day from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and cannot leave the state without permission. He has to relinquish his passport and promise to appear for court proceedings. He cannot have contact with any “co-conspirators.’’
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