Arsonist in Edmond Safra death back in prison in the US

It’s a long way from Monaco to Los Lunas, New Mexico, where Ted Maher is languishing in a prison medical facility. The convicted arsonist is reportedly undergoing treatment for throat cancer as he awaits a June 21 court appearance on a criminal solicitation charge — for allegedly trying to arrange a hitman to kill his wife last year.

Maher, who now goes by the name Jon Green, was once public enemy number one in Monaco.

In 2002, reporters from all over the world descended on the glamorous principality as the former Green Beret went on trial — charged in the mysterious death of his former boss Edmond Safra, the legendary Brazilian-Lebanese banker.

Safra, the billionaire founder of New York’s Republic National Bank and Geneva’s Trade Development bank, died along with his nurse Vivian Torrrente in a fire at his sprawling penthouse in December 1999.

Maher was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Already imprisoned in Monaco before the trial began, he went on a two-week hunger strike to jump start the proceedings — and told anyone who would listen that he had been forced to sign a confession by authorities shortly after he was arrested and recovering from stab wounds at Princess Grace Hospital.

Ted Maher at the time of his 2002 trial in Monaco. He said he was forced by Monaco police to sign a confession while he recovered at Princess Grace Hospital shortly after Safra’s death in December 1999. REUTERS

After serving eight years in prison, where he said he was subject to daily strip searches, Maher was freed in 2007 after a Monegasque judge said his trial had been rigged.

“Honestly, I think everything out of his mouth is a lie,” said his estranged fourth wife, Kim Lark, a physician in Carlsbad, New Mexico. “He’s a con artist. He can be whatever he needed to be.”

After Maher returned to to the US in 2007, his life was in ruins. His third wife had divorced him and he was allegedly prevented from seeing his three children. Working at an elder care facility, Maher was living in a trailer in Connecticut.

An announcement of an FBI probe against Ted Maher, listing his various aliases, which was sent out to agents in Texas after Maher stole his wife’s vehicle along with three rescue dogs in 2022. He legally changed his name to Jon Green after returning to the US following his prison time in Monaco. Dr. Kim Lark

“I went to several interviews where I was told that I had more experience than 10 nurses, but when I told them my story, I would get a letter in the mail saying that I was being rejected because I needed more experience,” he told The Post in a 2008 interview.

Maher lost that job, as well as several others. In 2013 the Texas Board of Nursing revoked his license on the grounds that he had covered up his Monaco conviction and lied about his employment history, according to reports.

At some point, he legally changed his name to Jon Green, apparently in an effort to outrun his past.

Lark met Maher — then working as a long-haul truck driver — when he showed up at her clinic for a biopsy a few years ago. After he was diagnosed with melanoma, Lark said, she referred him to another physician.

Maher’s estranged wife Kim Lark admits there were warning signs early on in her relationship with him. Dr. Kim Lark

But the two kept in touch and they began going on biking and skiing dates. Maher told her his version of the Monaco story and, Lark told The Post, she initially believed him — although she called him a “moron” for not telling the police that he had been kidnapped before the fire.

They married in 2020, though she now admits there were warning signs early on.

“The girls never liked him,” she said, referring to her dogs.

In addition to her day job as a doctor, Lark raises and trains rescue dogs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She and her dog Sage were dispatched to the Pentagon as part of the FEMA team that searched the rubble after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Maher allegedly stole his wife’s car — with her three dogs, including this one, in the back. Dr. Kim Lark
“They never liked him,” Lark said of her dogs. Dr. Kim Lark

But her border collie Storm, a descendent of Sage, would lunge at Maher whenever he tried to kiss her, Lark said.

“Three years into our relationship, things started to fall apart,” she said, adding that she got a restraining order against him when she started to notice what she described as erratic behavior.

In April 2022, Maher broke into her office and took an I-pad, $600 in cash, a 9-mm handgun and a checkbook, according to a criminal complaint filed in Eddy County Magistrate’s Court. Maher tried to cash $44,000 at a local bank, but was not successful after a teller called Lark, the complaint said.

Legendary Lebanese-Brazilian banker Edmond Safra died in his Monaco penthouse along with one of his nurses. He refused to leave the apartment because he feared that it was being attacked by Russian agents, who wanted him dead. Associated Press

When police approached him at the bank, Maher fled — even as he was tased in the stomach by a cop, according to the complaint.

On the morning of May 12, 2022, Maher returned to Carlsbad and stole Lark’s Ford Explorer, which was parked outside her clinic while she attended a quick meeting. Storm, as well as Lark’s dogs Felony and Zero — a border collie who was heavily pregnant — were lounging in the back, with the air-conditioner running.

Police were tipped off that Maher was at a VA hospital in the San Antonio, Texas, and arrested him there a month later. By the time Lark found her beloved dogs, Zero had already given birth to eight puppies, she said.

Lark says she has no sympathy for Maher anymore, especially after she found out that, in September he had allegedly paid a fellow prisoner at Eddy County Detention Center in Carlsbad to kill her.

“Ted got a raw deal in Monaco,” said his former lawyer Michael Griffith. Maher is seen on the stand during his trial for arson. 48 Hours /CBS Channel 2

A onetime cellmate of Maher’s wrote to Lark that Maher was allegedly planning a hit on her, according to a report in the Carlsbad Current Argus. Maher is scheduled to be in court Monday to answer the charge of criminal solicitation, according to court records.

Now, Lark sees her estranged husband periodically on her computer screen during Google Meet sessions with lawyers to hammer out their divorce.

In 2023, Maher was found guilty of two counts of forgery. The other charges — resisting arrest, concealing his identity and fraud — were dismissed, court records say.

Maher has late stage throat cancer, said Lark, who told The Post she heard about the diagnosis from someone else. He was transferred from the Eddy County prison, where he has been detained since his capture by police in 2022, to a medical facility at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility outside Albuquerque for medical treatment, she said.

The Monaco prison where Ted Maher spent eight years after the death of Edmond Safra and Vivien Torrente. He said he was subject to strip searches every day. Eric Gaillard

The Post was unable to reach Maher in prison or through his attorneys.

A former neonatal nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Maher was among a cadre of 12 nurses employed by Safra, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

He initially told authorities that he fought off two intruders who broke into Safra’s penthouse in the wee hours of December 3, 1999, claiming he started the fire to trip a smoke alarm and alert emergency forces.

The Belle Epoque building in Monaco, where billionaire couple Edmond and Lily Safra owned a sprawling penthouse outfitted with steel doors and shutters to protect them after Edmond gave the FBI information on Russian money-laundering at his banks. Paul Cooper/Shutterstock

The signed confession stated that Maher had also stabbed himself in order to curry favor with Safra, who worried that he was a target of the Russian mafia after he had cooperated with the FBI in a money-laundering probe of his banks.

Safra, who was highly paranoid due to the medication he took for his illness, had surrounded himself with more than 10 Mossad-trained bodyguards. The night of the fire, his socialite wife, Lily Safra, had inexplicably given the guards the night off.

Years later, Maher added to the bizarre story, saying that he had been kidnapped by shadowy Eastern Europeans a day before the fire. They threatened to go after his family if he did not allow them access to Safra’s apartment.

Socialite Lily Safra inexplicably gave her husband’s Mossad-trained bodyguards time off on the night that Edmond and one of his nurses died in the bizarre fire set by Ted Maher with a designer candle in their penthouse. Getty Images

The new story appeared in his 2021 book, “Framed in Monte Carlo: How I Was Wrongly Convicted for a Billionaire’s Fiery Death.” Maher went on to say that he was scapegoated by Monegasque authorities, for whom the death of one of its wealthiest residents was a public relations disaster.

“While the obligatory and evidently ‘bothersome’ investigation into the deaths of Edmond Safra and Vivian Torrente produced more head-shaking questions than answers, no one really cared,” Maher writes. “Everyone in that damned deep-tan, shallow-scrupled country was treating the evidence in the case with less concern than a third-division soccer score.”

Michael Griffith, Maher’s US attorney during the Monaco trial, told The Post that Maher’s treatment in Monaco has led to his erratic behavior in the US.

“Ted got a raw deal in Monaco,” said Griffith, who specializes in representing Americans imprisoned abroad. “Monaco changed their trial customs and would not permit me to cross examine in English.

“Instead, I had to submit my questions through my two inherited Monaco counsel. Both were inept. One was constantly intoxicated after drinking a full bottle of wine each day at lunch. The other was an American lawyer having had one misdemeanor case in a small French court. He was either reluctant or refused to translate questions that I proposed which were pertinent to Ted’s defense.”

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