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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 17, 2014

21 Year Fugitive Pleads Guilty For Failing To Appear for 1993 Court Appearance

SAN FRANCISCO – Francisco R. Legaspi pleaded guilty to failing to appear for his sentencing on Jan. 28, 1993, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez, announced.

According to the plea, Legaspi was indicted on August 19, 1992, on three counts of aiding and assisting in the presentation of false tax returns. He was released from custody with the condition that he appear in court for all hearings. He pleaded guilty on November 5, 1992, to one count of preparing a false tax return. Legaspi’s attorney told him that his sentencing was set for Jan. 28, 1993. On Jan. 27, 1993, IRS employees went to Legaspi’s business to collect unpaid withholding payroll taxes. During the visit an IRS employee and Legaspi discussed the fact that he was scheduled to appear in court the next day for his criminal case. The next day, Jan. 28, 1993, Legaspi intentionally did not appear for sentencing and fled to Mexico and later to Canada to avoid prison time for his tax crime.

Legaspi, 61, of London, Ontario, Canada, formerly of Daly City, was located in Canada in 2012, after the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security researched social media websites and found Legaspi’s Facebook page. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used the information to apprehend Legaspi. Thereafter, he was extradited from Canada to the United States with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

On July 1, 2014, Legaspi made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco for failing to appear for his Jan. 28, 1993, sentencing. Legaspi is scheduled to be sentenced on both charges on Oct. 2, 2014, before the Honorable William H. Orrick, United States District Court Judge in San Francisco.

The maximum penalty for aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns, in violation of Title 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2), is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for failure to appear, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 3146, is two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Moore is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Edward Solis. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS, Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; and United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs.

(Legaspi indictment )