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Former Arizona Department of Public Safety officer wanted in connection to $9 million fraud scheme

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of 54-year-old Frederick Arias.

PHOENIX — Federal officials are searching for a former Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who is wanted in connection with a $9 million fraud scheme.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that it is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of 54-year-old Frederick Arias.

According to the FBI, Arias allegedly "told investors that The Joseph Project was a safe and secure investment with guaranteed profits" between December 2015 and October 2017. 

Instead, according to the FBI, "Arias allegedly withdrew funds to pay personal expenses and wired funds overseas."

The department did not immediately disclose what The Joseph Project was.

Bart Graves, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, told 12 News that Arias retired from DPS in 2008 and did not have a comment regarding the FBI's investigation. 

Arias was charged with conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering in the first degree, ten counts of theft, two counts of illegal control of an enterprise, forgery and fraudulent schemes on June 6, 2019. A warrant was issued for his arrest at that time. 

Arias was arrested in Kirkland, Washington, on June 10, 2019. He was released from custody on bond on June 13, 2019, and did not appear for an extradition hearing. 

Arias was then charged with failing to appear by the King County District Court in King County, Washington, on June 26, 2019, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

Arias was also federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution on March 19 and another warrant was issued for his arrest.

The FBI believes Arias has ties to or may visit Canada, Norway, Australia, the Czech Republic, and the Dominican Republic. He has previously lived in Kirkland, Washington.

Credit: FBI
Two photos of Frederick Arias provided by the FBI.

The FBI is teaming up with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to ask for the public’s help in finding Arias.

Anyone with information about Arias is asked to call the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office at 623-466-1999, their nearest FBI Office, American Embassy or Consulate.