ORLANDO, Fla. – A New York City fugitive who had been evading authorities for nearly a year was spotted and arrested last month after a federal officer working his case miraculously saw him while on vacation at Walt Disney World, according to reports.
Luck ran out for Quashon Burton when federal postal inspector Jeff Andre was hanging out in the Florida amusement park’s Animal Kingdom on Oct. 20. In a case of good fortune for law enforcement, Andre observed Burton who fled his Brooklyn home last November after being accused of fraudulently obtaining coronavirus relief aid, WDWNT reported.
Andre was the investigator who signed the original criminal complaint against Burton. He identified the 31-year-old fugitive by a unique cursive letter H tattoo on his neck.
According to the federal complaint filed against Burton, he is accused of assuming the identities of at least four victims in order to fraudulently take out government PPP loans that were designed to assist struggling businesses during the pandemic.
Once the loans were approved, Burton used an ATM to purchase money orders from a NYC post office to cash out. He reportedly stole about $150,000 in forgivable federal loans, the New York Post reported.
Prosecutors noted in the criminal complaint that Burton “has clearly demonstrated an ability to mask his true identity to evade law enforcement. So too has he demonstrated a willingness to lie about this identity to avoid arrest.”
As the investigation was complete and law enforcement officers went to arrest Burton at his residence, he had already fled and could not be located.
“USPIS agents visited the home on two other occasions and were informed by Burton’s mother that Burton would not be self-surrendering,” according to federal court documents.
While evading authorities, Burton reportedly used fake identities — including one for his visit to Disney World, WDWNT reported.
Once Andre spotted Burton at the amusement park about mid-afternoon, he notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies confronted the fugitive as he waited at a bus stop with two of his family members, according to a sheriff’s report obtained by the news outlet.
During the detention, Burton refused to provide identification and resisted arrest, forcing deputies to take him to the ground.
He continued to deny he was Quashon Burton even after fingerprints proved his true identity. He was subsequently booked locally for resisting arrest and then handed over to federal authorities.
Despite his propensity to run and resist authorities, Middle Florida Magistrate Judge David Baker ruled on Oct. 27 that Burton could be released with electronic monitoring and pretrial supervision in New York, among other conditions, according to WDWNT.
However, prosecutors in New York sought to keep Burton in custody, calling him “an extreme risk of flight.” On Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan from the Southern District of New York agreed and ruled Burton should be held without bail prior to his trial.