British fugitive pleads not guilty to theft

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 56-year-old man suspected of stealing about $1.5 million worth of British currency in England in 1993 pleaded not guilty Tuesday to unrelated U.S. firearms and fraud charges.

Edward J. Maher entered not guilty pleas in federal court in Springfield to aggravated identity theft, document fraud and firearms violations. Online court records show Maher appeared at the 10-minute hearing and waived a formal reading of the charges.

Maher, who worked for a security company, had been wanted in England for the 1993 theft of about $1.5 million in British currency from an armored van during a bank delivery. Maher has been accused of taking the van and the money while another guard was inside the bank.

He has been in federal custody in Greene County since his arrest Feb. 8 in Ozark, where authorities said he had been living under his brother’s name and working as a cable technician. Maher told federal agents he’s been in the U.S. since 1998. The original affidavit filed when Maher was arrested said he had over the years used at least two aliases, Michael Maher and Stephen King.

David Mercer, the federal public defender appointed to represent Maher, declined comment Tuesday. Maher’s next court date has not yet been scheduled.

Federal prosecutors have accused Maher of using a Social Security card that was not issued to him in May 2010, and in October 2011, he used another means of identification that wasn’t his. He’s also accused of illegally possessing four firearms — two pistols and two rifles. The indictment requires Maher to forfeit those weapons to the government.

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