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Missing Auburn couple convicted of multiple counts of fraud caught near Port Townsend

A Washington couple was on the run from the FBI after being convicted of multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud in the range of millions of dollars.

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — An Auburn couple that went missing after being found guilty of 20 counts of fraud were captured near Port Townsend Tuesday afternoon, according to the FBI.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen were found located at the Hadlock Motel after the FBI received a tip from motel's manager who saw the story on KING 5.

"It's just something about him," Trish Ulrich recalled. "He liked to talk and he was just talking a lot about how he was working for the government and he just quit."

Ulrich said the couple parked their vehicle in the back of the motel because they said they didn't want family members to see it. 

"When I saw the thing about the FBI and what they were saying I freaked out because I can't believe I had people like that staying at the motel," she said.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen were found guilty of 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud last July.

Charging documents from the FBI state that the couple defrauded thousands of their customers while running the bullion business, Northwest Territorial Mint, with offices in Auburn and Federal Way. The documents stated the couple promised goods that they failed to deliver, taking in more than $20 million. 

Given the magnitude of the crime, the FBI stepped in.

“The amount of loss, and the number of victims definitely is a reason why the FBI was involved in investigating this case,” said Steve Bernd, spokesperson for the FBI’s Seattle office. “With losses in the millions, that’s very significant.”

Despite a recommendation that they remain in custody, the couple was allowed to go home and return for their sentencing hearing. When they failed to show up for the hearing, the FBI issued federal arrest warrants on April 29.

The FBI said the couple was using cash to fly under the radar and not leave a trail.

A new sentencing hearing and date have not been set.