May 24 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
POLICE believe Eddie Maher arrived in the United States on February 22, 1993, exactly a month after the theft of the £1,172,500.
Two months later he stole the identity of a man named Stephen King, after a passport was fraudulently applied for in that name. It was sent to Maher by an accomplice in April 1993.
Starting his new life as Stephen King with his partner Debbie Brett, who became known as Deborah King and Barbara King, the couple and their young son Lee lived in Colorado and New Hampshire between July 1993 and the mid-late 1990s.
In 1998 Maher and Miss Brett had another son, Mark.
However, Maher’s American Dream seems to have gone sour within five years of their arrival in the US after he lost his money in a stock market crash.
By 1998 Maher had assumed the identity of his brother, Michael, who was three years older than him. He managed to get a social security number under his name, allowing him to find work.
Over the years the family hopped from one state to another, renting properties or staying in hotels as they went.
Apart from Colorado and New Hampshire, the Mahers told people they also lived or worked in Pennsylvania, Florida, Houston in Texas, Grafton and Milwaukee in Wisconsin, St Paul in Minnesota, and Ozark in Missouri. Reports in the US have also connected them to Oklahoma and South Carolina.
At some point on their travels Maher and Miss Brett are said to have got married in Las Vegas.
Maher was described as ruling the roost at home, where the atmosphere would change when he came in and all decisions seemed to be deferred to him.
By 2004 the family was living in Philadelphia, where Maher worked for television ratings company Nielsen Media Research as a field representative and supervisor.
They moved to Milwaukee, before Maher was laid off by Nielsen in 2008. In the same year they moved to the rented end-terraced home in Ozark, Missouri, where Maher was arrested in February last year.
Ironically, Maher ended up in the same position he was in when living in Britain, dogged by financial problems. He was forced to file for bankruptcy in November 2010.
Federal court records in Springfield, Missouri, reveal his finances were overwhelmed by credit card and instalment loan debt. Maher reported he owed $34,350 and had assets of $3,655.
A judge discharged Maher’s debts in May 2011.
The family fortunes took an upturn in September 2011 when Lee won $100,000 windfall on the Missouri lottery, only to apparently squander the vast majority of it within a few months.
Financially-stricken, the 56-year-old, 5ft 8in, 235 pound, Maher was not in a position to run any longer when the FBI came calling in February last year.
Subsequently he claimed to have stolen the £1,172,500 under duress.
However, Detective Inspector David Giles, of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “What he told the FBI was that he only got a small amount of cash, was given a passport in the name of Stephen King, put on a plane to America, and basically told to keep his head down. But what we have discovered was the passport was not issued until April 28, 1993.
“Somebody knew where to send that passport in America which goes some way to unpicking what he said.
“He actually got at least $120,000 dollars and would have had access to another $12,000. We have shown he was given a lot of money and someone knew where to find him.”