Former ‘America’s Most Wanted’ suspect can’t sue Mexican prison in US

A former fugitive arrested in Mexico after his case alleging a scheme to defraud the US military was profiled on the former Fox Network television series “America’s Most Wanted” cannot sue authorities at a Mexican prison where he claims he was tortured.

Roger Charles Day, 55, is serving a 105-year sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, a punishment imposed in December 2011 after he was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. A federal jury convicted him in August 2011 of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in international money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle gold out of the United States.

Federal authorities say Day led an international scheme that used a series of front companies to win hundreds of contracts for military supplies. The supplied components, however, were phony, including “critical application items” essential for weapon system performance. The government says Day’s scam jeopardized the safety of military personnel.

“In the course of the scheme, Day and other conspirators, operating in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Belize, formed at least 18 separate companies that posed as legitimate contractors and collectively used a computer program to win nearly 1,000 lucrative contract awards for the various companies,” the Justice Department said when Day was sentenced. “Day and his conspirators then shipped defective parts to the (Department of Defense) on more than 300 of those contracts, receiving more than $4.4 million in payment on parts that Day purchased for less than $200,000.”

Day was charged in August 2008 and captured in Cancun, Mexico, more than two years later, which authorities credited to a story about Day that aired on “America’s Most Wanted.”

Earlier this month, Day filed a complaint alleging that he was tortured by Mexican prison authorities before he was extradited to the US. Indiana Southern District Judge James Patrick Hanlon dismissed the case Friday.

“The defendants are all alleged to be Mexican citizens and are not alleged to have taken any actions in the United States. Therefore, they do not have sufficient contacts with the State of Indiana such that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them would comport with ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice,’” Hanlon wrote.

Day may try his luck in the Mexican court system, though. “This dismissal does not prevent the plaintiff from pursuing his claims in the appropriate forum,” Hanlon noted. The case is Day v. Subsecretario Del Sistema Penitenciario Federal et al., 2:19-cv-587.

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