If You’re a Fugitive, Posting on Facebook Isn’t a Good Idea

This headline really tells the whole tale. But this tale deserves a full telling, so here goes:

In August 1992, Francisco Legaspi was indicted on three counts of aiding and assisting in the presentation of false tax returns. In November 1992 he pleaded guilty to one count of preparing a false tax return (this appears to be a normal plea bargain); sentencing was scheduled for January 28, 1993. On January 27, 1993, an IRS employee visited his office to collect payroll taxes. The two did discuss that sentencing was scheduled the next day. Mr. Legaspi decided that instead of going to court he’d head to Mexico.

Yes, that’s illegal. He was charged with Failure to Appear in February 1993.

After staying in Mexico Mr. Legaspi moved to London, Ontario, Canada. He lived a low-profile life for nearly 20 years but then made a major mistake: He set up a Facebook page. Yes, the authorities read Facebook. This includes the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

It is unclear to me why this agency rather than the US Marshals Service was the agency that found Mr. Legaspi. No matter, federal law enforcement agencies do communicate with each other and to other countries’ police authorities. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security let the Royal Canadian Mounted Police know about Mr. Legaspi in 2012; the RCMP found him and he was extradited back to the United States.

Mr. Legaspi had already pleaded guilty to the tax charge; this past week he pleaded guilty to Failing to Appear. He’ll be sentenced in October to both counts. This time he’s being held in prison until being sentenced. He could receive up to five years at Club Fed plus a fine of up to $500,000.


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