Man suspected in Sonoma Valley Bank fraud found dead

A Marin County developer, who once owned the Greenbriar Apartments in Petaluma, and who is at the center of a federal fraud investigation into the collapse of Sonoma Valley Bank was found dead Tuesday two days after his family reported him missing.

Bijan Madjlessi died in a car crash on a weekend trip to Stinson Beach, where he had headed for a Sunday morning walk and never returned, said Steven M. Bauer, an attorney representing Madjlessi.

Authorities found his gold Mercedes sedan about 320 feet down a ravine off Shoreline Highway about 2 miles from the coast and Muir Beach.

Fire and rescue personnel helped recover a body from the wreckage late Tuesday afternoon, CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said. Using fingerprint analysis, the Marin County coroner confirmed late Tuesday that Madjlessi's body was found in the car. An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday.

Madjlessi, 58, was accused of bank and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in a federal grand jury indictment unsealed April 9 following a three-year investigation into the implosion of Sonoma Valley Bank. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was free on bail.

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