A man accused of defrauding the parents of missing Iowa paperbo
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ A man accused of defrauding the parents of missing Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch by promising to rescue the youth for a price waived extradition Monday to face federal wire fraud charges.
Robert Herman Meier II, 19, who surrendered to FBI agents here Aug. 15 after fleeing to Canada, signed a waiver agreeing to his return to Iowa in an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Edmund Maxwell.
Maxwell set the removal date for Wednesday to allow time for the U.S. Attorney’s office to check on the background of seven or eight friends and relatives of Meier who have agreed to sign a $48,000 surety bail.
Maxwell set bail at $50,000 when Meier surrendered, and Meier’s court- appointed attorney, James Harrington, said the defendant’s mother will pay $2,000 in cash.
Meier was indicted Thursday in Iowa on charges of wire fraud. He is accused of contacting John and Noreen Gosch of West Des Moines and saying he could return their son Johnny, who disappeared at the age of 12 while delivering newspapers on Sept. 5, 1982.
Meier allegedly told the Gosches that their son had been sold into slavery and was living in Mexico with a high-level drug trafficker.
According to the indictment, he said that for $111,000 he would go to Mexico and free the boy. The Gosches paid $11,000, but Meier later told them that a rescue attempt was unsuccessful.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Simet objected to either a reduction in bail or the surety bail proposal, saying, ″These are individuals who are scattered loosely thoughout the country, have no property and no particular ties or influence on the defendant.″
He described Meier as ″an itinerant since the age of 15″ and asked ″Is it reasonable to believe ... that he will appear in the morning to stand trial?″