2 'Most Wanted' captured in Tonopah thanks to tip - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

2 'Most Wanted' captured in Tonopah thanks to tip

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TONOPAH, Ariz. -

One day after they were featured on America's Most Wanted, a tip led federal investigators to a couple wanted for running a Ponzi scheme.

The Hallahans were first arrested in Illinois. 12-years later, they were found hiding out in Tonopah, a small town west of the valley.

We spoke with people who knew the couple.

Nelson and Janet Hallahan admitted to running a Ponzi scheme, conning friends, family, even combing the obituaries for widows and widowers to rip off.

But just when they agreed to turn themselves in in Peoria, Illinois, they skipped town and had been on the run ever since.

Two of America's Most Wanted, hiding out in Tonopah, Arizona? It's what everybody's talking about at the Tin Top Bar and Grill.

"It is mind boggling. I was shocked this morning, even went on America's most wanted site. I could not believe that it's her," says Andrea Peterson. "It is definitely her."

U.S. marshals believe 65-year-old Nelson Hallahan and 54-year-old Janet Hallahan had been using fake names and living in Tonopah for several years.

Although they'd ripped many people off back in Peoria, Illinois and lived lavishly, after 12 years on the run, Nelson found himself working as a handyman and Janet cleaned houses.

Then the tip into America's Most Wanted and a visit from U.S. marshals.

"Initially Janet denied who she was, kept it up for 15 to 20 minutes. When it was obvious we knew, then she eventually admitted her true identity," says David Gonzales from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Now the Tin Top has two fewer customers. Janet, who'd called herself Fee, used to come in to knock back vodka tonics.

"It is shocking, they always talked, it is weird," says Peterson.

The Hallahans appeared in federal court Monday afternoon and asked to be sent back to Peoria, Ill.

Next stop: prison.

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