Julius Salsbury, a major gambling figure on The Block, jumped bail and apparently fled the state yesterday only hours before a federal judge struck down his appeal and ordered him to start a 15-year prison term.
FBI agents rushed to Salsbury's apartment in the Horizon House immediately after the Fourth Circuit Court opinion was handed down. The apartment was "cleaned out, without even a pair of socks left," according to one report.
Government prosecutors have long pleaded with the Federal Court to revoke Salsbury's $80-$1,000 and send him to prison while he appealed his conviction on gambling charges.
Salsbury was known to have substantial assets in Swiss banks and had disposed of his interest in the Oasis Nite Club, where he ran a $1 million gambling operation from the back room.
Three years ago, federal judges were told, Salsbury tried to sell a $100,000 Treasury bond through Swiss banks. The bond was discovered stolen from a brokerage house.
The judges allowed Salsbury to post bond, $45,000 on the gambling charges and $35,000 on tax charges, through Robert London, a professional bondsman who is on trial on lottery charges in state courts.
Court orders restricted Salsbury, however, to walks around his house in the 2900 block Strathmore Road, his downtown apartment or trips to the zoo with his grandchildren.
The court seized his still valid passport and Paul R. Schlitz, the court clerk, spent a few unhappy hours for it yesterday searching for it before it was discovered in the safe.
Federal officials, however, did not rule out the possibility that Salsbury obtained another passport and has flown to Switzerland or Israel.
Salsbury's disappearance came only a few hours before Circuit Judge John D. Butzner Jr., of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, threw out his appeal and ordered him arrested.
Judge Butzner pointed out that Salsbury was "the center of a far-flung operation" through his gambling activities. Salsbury's wealth and arrogance on The Block earned him the name of The Lord.
According to Judge Butzner, Salsbury's "resources are so large" that there was nothing to prevent him from fleeing except an order to start serving his term pending further legal moves.
The coincidence of Salsbury's disappearance and the final arrival of the long-awaited appeals court opinion gave rise to speculation that Salsbury was tipped off through underworld Mafia sources that his time was up.
Judge Butzner and Judge Frank A. Kaufman both signed warrants for Salsbury's immediate arrest, setting no bail. Mr. London was ordered to produce him in federal court on Monday.
Paul R. Kramer, deputy United States attorney, and J. Frederick Motz, an assistant, said that Salsbury's absence Monday would mean steps would be taken to seize at least $45,000 of the bail.
Salsbury is due to appear in Federal Court August 24 for an arraignment on tax charges. His non appearance there could cause the forfeiture of the additional $35,00 in bail.
Mr. Kramer said the government based its position that Salsbury's bail should have been canceled long ago on reports received from the FBI and tax agents.