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Press Release

Federal inmate sentenced to prison time for escaping from Atlanta’s prison camp to celebrate his birthday

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA – Federal inmate Fernando A. Settles has been sentenced to an additional one year, three months in prison for escaping from the United States Penitentiary’s minimum-security camp in Atlanta, Georgia.  


“Escapes from prison pose significant safety risks to the public,” said U. S. Attorney John A. Horn.  “Settles escaped from Atlanta’s prison camp to celebrate his birthday.  He decided that instant gratification was more important than serving his time and being released at the end of his sentence.  Now he will have an extra year to reflect on that choice.”


According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia (“USP Atlanta”) is a medium-security federal prison for male inmates operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. USP Atlanta also has a detention center for pre-trial inmates and a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male inmates. The FBI and the Atlanta Police Department (“APD”) have been engaged in an investigation to combat instances where USP Atlanta inmates temporarily escape from the prison camp to obtain contraband to smuggle back into the prison or to visit nearby restaurants, hotels, and residences.


In August 2009, Settles was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of conspiratorial and substantive drug trafficking offenses. From approximately September 2016 to May 2017, Settles was an inmate at the prison camp of USP Atlanta, with a scheduled release date of July 29, 2025.


On May 8, 2017, the FBI and APD conducted surveillance along the fence line of USP Atlanta. At approximately 3:20 that morning, Settles escaped from the prison camp at USP Atlanta.  Shortly thereafter, the FBI arrested Settles in a wooded area outside of USP Atlanta’s outer prison fence.  At the time of his arrest, Settled had a cellular telephone and two empty duffel bags in his possession.


On May 12, 2017, Fernando A. Settles, 36, of Augusta, Georgia, was charged via criminal information with escaping from federal custody. Settles was sentenced to a one year, three month term of imprisonment (to be served after he completes his current 20-year prison sentence).


The FBI and APD investigated this case.


Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey W.  Davis and Timothy Lee prosecuted the case.


For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated September 20, 2017

Public Corruption