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Friday, July 15, 2011

Brent Farris: St. Louis Fugitive Eluded Capture Like "Catch Me If You Can"

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Brent Farris traveled under the alias Michael Royston. - U.S. MARSHAL'S SERVICE VIA HOUSTON CHRONICLE
  • U.S. Marshal's Service via Houston Chronicle
  • Brent Farris traveled under the alias Michael Royston.
Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Catch Me if You Can has nothing on 49-year-old Brent Farris.

Farris, the former owner of Farris Gallery in St. Louis, was sentenced today to fourteen months in prison after leading U.S. Marshals on a six-year goose chase across 14 countries and three continents.

The story begins in 2004, when Farris was sentenced to serve twenty months in prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution on charges that he illegally transferred ownership and sold an oil painting in violation of his bankruptcy.

Authorities released Farris on bond before he was to be admitted to prison, and that's when he took off. U.S. Marshals would eventually track Farris across fourteen different countries on three continents, with Farris gaining a false British passport to aid his flight. Farris used the passport to live and work in China, and to attempt to travel throughout Asia and Europe undetected.

Based on information provided by the U.S. Marshals, Italian authorities arrested and detained Farris in Rome, Italy, in 2009. He was confined in an Italian prison for a period of time, then released to house arrest while the United States sought extradition. Farris absconded from Italy while awaiting extradition.

He was finally apprehended and detained in 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico, by Mexican Immigration Officials acting on information obtained from U.S. law enforcement, and deported back to the United States where he was met and placed into custody by the U.S. Marshals. He was charged with failure to appear, for which he was sentenced today.

The new sentence will be served consecutive to the original sentence, which he is now serving.

Last August, the Houston Chronicle wrote a fascinating and detailed account of Farris' flight in which he assumed the identity as "Michael Royston" and secured a gig as an executive with an international firm. Farris was detained in Houston following his capture in Mexico.

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