Kirkland man wanted by police plummets over cliff
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
May 15, 2009 · Updated 3:49 PM
Kirkland resident James W. Lull, on the lam from Hawaiian authorities, died after his car fell 300 feet over a cliff in Selah in Yakima County. The 60-year-old man and the wreckage was found Thursday afternoon. Police suspect that the deadly crash occurred one to two days before his body was found.
On Thursday, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a bench warrant for Lull, after he skipped sentencing for wire fraud in that state.
Restitution in the case was estimated to be close to $30 million to more than 50 victims, according to federal court records.
Officials are still investigating why Lull's 2007 Ford Explorer left westbound on Interstate 82, traveled 200-300 feet through sagebrush, hit a fence and continued over the cliff.
Evidence indicates that the vehicle was accelerating after it left the roadway, but the reasons for that were not clear and Lull was wearing his seat belt, investigators said.
If convicted, Lull faced 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors wrote in the plea deal that he had used his position in the bank as a mortgage broker to lure customers for his own "bridge loans" and "private mortgages," which began in 2005.
Lull guaranteed returns but had no intention of repaying the money. Investors gave him more than $30 million according to prosecutors. Lull filed for personal bankruptcy in 2007.
For more information on the legal case, visit the Kirkland Reporter's sister newspaper, the Honolulu Star Bulletin.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.