AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — His style was beguiling, his technique silky. But the alias adopted by accused con man David Scott Srail could have used some work.
San Antonio police arrested Srail in a small municipal airport this week after getting a tip from authorities in Austin, where Srail has been wanted since 2007 on theft charges in Travis County. According to one of his accusers, officers were tipped by a new employer who happened upon allegations of his schemes while doing a Web search for a new employee named Dave Srail.
"I'm elated," said Jacira Paolino, who has maintained a website for several years that accuses Srail of defrauding her daughter in Florida and lists claims by numerous other alleged victims in several states. "I knew we'd get him someday."
Jail records list no lawyer for Srail, who was being held Friday in the San Antonio jail. A local police spokesman said officers made the arrest Monday thanks to information from Austin police. Messages left with the Austin Police Department seeking information about the case weren't returned Friday.
Srail, 45, a native of Ohio, has crossed the country with long stops in Florida and Texas, leaving a trail of accusations.
Alleged victims interviewed by The Associated Press in 2007 said they had been bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars in schemes ranging from loaning Srail money to cover short-term expenses to believing they were investing in real estate. They described a man blessed with a wide smile and a glowing tan, known for his good looks, and his victims found him smart, funny and a good salesman.
In a sworn statement filed in court in Austin that same year, Detective Roger Bailey accused Srail of stealing $2,500 from Juan Carlos Gonzalez, a fellow participant in a pharmaceutical research study. Srail, according to the statement, promised Gonzalez an opportunity to invest in a real estate deal in New York.
"It is my belief, based on my investigation, that David Srail never had any intention what-so-ever of investing Juan's money," Bailey wrote. "He simply convinced Juan to give it to him under false pretenses and then stole it."
As part of his investigation Bailey contacted Paolino, who told the detective that several people had contacted her "from across the U.S. in response to her website and told her their story of being conned by David Srail," he wrote. "One person lost $45,000 to him while another lost $7,000."
Investigators couldn't find him until, Paolino said, the web-surfing employer found her website. She said he emailed her, telling her he'd contacted police.