Millionaire plot to trade prison for French chateau foiled

Authorities say they’ve foiled an aged businessman’s plan to flee a Florida jail and return to France the place he had beforehand fled in an try to keep away from youngster pornography costs.

A tip from exterior the jail sparked a two-month investigation of John Manchec, 78, and folks he had enlisted in his escape plan, Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers mentioned Monday throughout a information convention.

“Primarily, the plan comes right down to this,” Sheriff Flowers mentioned. “These people which can be on the surface are going to attend till Manchec has a physician’s go to, and they’ll take out our corrections workers whereas he’s out on the medical facility.”

The plan referred to as for Manchec’s staff to pepper-spray jail guards and take him to his non-public aircraft in close by Fort Pierce, in order that he might fly to France, Flowers mentioned.

Manchec is a multimillionaire with twin U.S. and French citizenship, Flowers mentioned.

Manchec was arrested in 2014 on 49 youngster pornography costs. Flowers mentioned he left the nation to keep away from prosecution after posting a virtually $500,000 bond, and moved to his medieval property in southern France, the Chateau Pechrigal.

France denied U.S. makes an attempt to extradite him, however he was finally arrested within the Dominican Republic in 2020, and returned to Florida, based on the sheriff.

Manchec requested permission to go away jail in January, saying he suffered from continual medical situations, and since he broke his hip and wrist late final 12 months, the sheriff mentioned. The request was denied.

The escape plot centered on an April 12 medical appointment, Flowers mentioned. However at the very least one of many individuals concerned tipped off regulation enforcement, permitting investigators to unravel the plot.

An examination of Manchec’s jail telephone information found he used the code phrases “paint job” whereas speaking along with his staff in regards to the plot.

They have been to organize his aircraft, his 140-foot (42-meter) yacht, a black utility van and different automobiles bought only for the escape try, Flowers mentioned. Manchec even paid the bail for a cellmate, after which allowed them to reside in his dwelling. That individual helped put together for the escape, right down to packing a suitcase, and his favourite liquor, the sheriff mentioned.

Flowers mentioned the plan was to go “again to his fortress in France” and by no means must face the fees.

Manchec stays within the Indian River County Jail, with extra costs associated to the escape. Two inmates and two staff have been additionally arrested and charged with conspiracy within the escape plot. A lawyer listed on Manchec’s court docket information didn’t instantly return an electronic mail searching for touch upon the brand new costs.

Manchec was initially arrested in December 2014, following a toddler pornography investigation by the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement.

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