A Watertown developer who skipped town after his securities-fraud conviction traded time behind bars for life in Puerto Rico, where he was arrested Friday night, according to officials.
The arrest by US marshals ended a months-long flight for Robert H. Bray, 79, whose 2016 conviction for insider trading came after decades of working in local real estate development, including renovations of labs and other buildings at Harvard University.
“I felt very bad about the whole thing, about him. It’s a very bad situation. He’s a very nice guy,” said Vincent Luca, who has known Bray for about 40 years, in a brief phone interview Saturday.
Bray was arrested in Añasco, Puerto Rico, a community of about 27,500 peoplealong Puerto Rico’s western shoreline.
Bray was convicted in January 2016 of insider trading in federal court in Boston, and sentenced to pay a $1 million fine and serve a two-year prison term. He was ordered to report to the federal prison in Devens to start his prison term May 19, but disappeared. Authorities then launched a nationwide manhunt to track him down.
Bray is expected to appear in federal court in San Juan Monday or Tuesday to answer a federal arrest warrant, which was issued in Massachusetts, said Neil Sullivan, a deputy US marshal, in a phone interview Saturday.
On Saturday, Sullivan declined to say how authorities finally located Bray, but they believed he headed directly for Puerto Rico after leaving Massachusetts.
“We do believe he was there the entire time he was on the run,” said Sullivan.
Investigators determined on Friday that Bray was living in Añasco, according to Sullivan, and “he was arrested very quickly” after that by the marshals.
According to Sullivan and a statement from the US Marshals Service, Bray was taken into custody without incident outside a residence he had rented.
Bray’s conviction stemmed from a 2010 encounter with former Eastern Bank executive John Patrick O’Neill, when Bray asked for investment help.
O’Neill gave Bray the name of a second bank, Wainwright, which Eastern would purchase a few weeks later.
Bray bought stock in Wainwright, and following the Eastern purchase, Bray sold the shares for about $300,000 in profit.
O’Neill later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and testified against Bray.
Two days before Bray was to report to prison, he was treated at the emergency room at Mount Auburn Hospital for a broken varicose vein his leg, which was packed and bandaged, according to a letter from Bray’s doctor, Stephen P. Ranere.
Ranere examined Bray on May 18 and recommended Bray see a vascular surgeon.
On the day Bray was to report to prison, Bray’s attorney, Joseph W. Monahan III, asked US District Court Judge William G. Young for an extension so Bray could be evaluated, but Young refused.
The federal warrant for Bray was issued a few days later. Neither Ranere nor Monahan could be reached for comment Saturday.
Court records show Bray suffers from some age-related health issues, and the federal prison in Devens is for inmates with special medical conditions.
Sullivan said Bray was staying with another person when he was arrested, but had no details on the relationship between the two. Sullivan also did not have details on what Bray was doing during his time in Puerto Rico, or whether Bray stayed in touch with any friends or family in New England.
Bray was the owner of R&B Construction for about 30 years, a four-person company based in Cambridge, according to court records.
Before Bray’s conviction, during a bail hearing in November 2014, prosecutors raised the possibility Bray could flee and use his “substantial” assets to support himself.
Court records indicated Bray, who had been doing business for more than 50 years, was collecting about $12,000 per month in income, along with social security.
Massachusetts court records also show Bray also has two brothers and a sister who live in New Hampshire.
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