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Press Release

California man who participated in email fraud to steal more than $3 million from boatbuilding companies sentenced to 16 months in prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Bulk of the money went to unidentified co-schemers in China

Seattle – A 47-year-old Inglewood, California, man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 16 months in prison for an email compromise scheme that stole more than $3.3 million from two companies involved in manufacturing ferries and engines for those ferries, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Leslie Redd III, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted the severe impact that the crime had on the victim businesses and their employees, causing employees’ pay to be delayed and cut, and threatening the businesses’ viability. 

According to records filed in the case, including the plea agreement, in October 2018, Redd entered a scheme with a co-conspirator in Pennsylvania and others. The scheme began when a malicious link was sent to an email address of an employee at the engine-building company. The link allowed the conspirators to gain access to the company’s email system and review various emails, including those transmitting invoices. The conspirators then posed as a billing executive at the engine manufacturing company and sent the boat-building company instructions to wire the payment funds to a specific bank account. The conspirators had set up a fake company and the account at a Pennsylvania bank specifically to receive these funds. The false emails indicated the engine-building company’s usual bank account was undergoing an audit and said that the engine-building company therefore needed to use a different bank than it had previously. 

On October 29, 2018, the boat builder paid the invoice for $3,316,730 by wiring the funds as directed by the fraudulent emails. The co-conspirator in Pennsylvania quickly forwarded $3,074,500 to bank accounts controlled by Redd and other co-conspirators. Of the ill-gotten funds, Redd kept $857,350 in accounts he controlled. Investigators were able to seize $420,817 from those accounts.

In the sentencing memo, prosecutors describe how Redd, forwarded more than $2,000,000 of the money that he had received to China to other co-conspirators – people whose names he did not even know. Judge Martinez expressed particular concern that American citizens would help foreign criminals defraud fellow Americans.

Redd will be on three years of supervised release following prison. He was ordered to pay $2,802,368.24 in restitution (the amount of the outstanding loss).

The case was investigated by the FBI Seattle Office Cyber Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Friedman and former Assistant United States Attorney Siddharth Velamoor.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated April 26, 2024

Financial Fraud