Fugitive doctor's luck runs out in Honolulu

October 09, 1991|By Brian Sullam

George C. Daniel's luck ran out, appropriately enough, on Friday, Sept. 13.

That was the day that Dr. Daniel, a former National Institutes of Health endocrinologist who has been a fugitive from justice for the past 3 1/2 years, got into a dispute with a Honolulu hotel clerk and his life on the run came to an end.

Until then he had managed to visit 22 countries, marry his girlfriend, have a child, sell five properties in the Washington area and settle his family in New South Wales, Australia -- all while being sought by federal authorities in Baltimore because he failed to appear in court to face charges of illegally selling prescriptions.

Yesterday, a federal magistrate in Baltimore denied his request that he not be incarcerated until his Dec. 2 trial.

Dr. Daniel's troubles began in 1987, when he was arrested by undercover federal narcotics agents on charges of selling illegal prescriptions out of his office in Potomac.

He was scheduled to plead guilty Feb. 22, 1988, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to one count of selling drugs. At the time, he was out on $200,000 bail secured in part by five properties -- three in houses in Washington and two condominiums in Adelphi -- which he later sold out from under the government.

But the day of the trial, he called his attorney, Price O. Gielen, and said he did not want to sign the plea bargain. He then disappeared.

U.S. District Judge John R. Hargrove signed a bench warrant for Dr. Daniel. Federal prosecutors also obtained an arrest warrant for Debra Cason, Dr. Daniel's girlfriend and a former attorney for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board who took leave from her job the day Dr. Daniel disappeared.

They might have remained free, but sometime this summer Dr. Daniel, who is a citizen of the Caribbean nation of Dominica, decided to return to the United States. Dr. Daniel, his wife and child entered the country through New York and made their way to Honolulu.

In Honolulu on that Friday the 13th, Dr. Daniel tried to pay his hotel bill with a credit card. The clerk couldn't get an authorization, and the doctor offered to pay with another credit card, Harvey E. Eisenberg, the assistant U.S. attorney who heads the Mid-Atlantic Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, told the court yesterday.

The clerk noticed the names were different and called the Honolulu police. They questioned Dr. Daniel and found three passports in two different names. By this time, the Honolulu police decided they should run his name through the computerized list of people with outstanding warrants. Dr. Daniel's warrant popped up and the Honolulu police notified federal officials in Baltimore.

Federal prosecutors have charged Ms. Cason with aiding Dr. Daniel's escape. She was released on $50,000 bail.

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