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The Former General Manager of the Residence Inn Seattle South
 Surrenders to Federal Authorities; Allegedly Embezzled $1.4 million


By Mike Carter, Seattle TimesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News 

Jan. 15, 2008 - The former general manager of the Residence Inn in Tukwila, indicted more than a year ago for allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from the Marriott Corp., surrendered to federal authorities on Monday. 

Brian Fleet, 41, appeared before U.S. Magistrate James P. Donohue, who ordered a detention hearing and arraignment on Friday. Fleet will be held in custody until then. 

Prosecutors unsealed a 2006 indictment charging Fleet with four counts of wire fraud involving a scheme in which he allegedly cashed checks made out to the Residence Inn and deposited them in his own account. 

The documents say he set up a personal account in 1999 -- the year he was hired at the hotel -- under the name "Brian M. Fleet [doing business as] The Residence" to make it easier to cash the checks. 

From that time until he disappeared in 2006, Fleet allegedly stole $1.4 million, according to court documents. The indictment alleges he would steal checks, cash them and then "manipulate the hotel's computer accounting system by falsely indicating that payments had been deposited ... ." 

The indictment, said defense attorney Barry Flegenheimer, was filed under seal and Fleet didn't realize he was wanted. 

Fleet turned himself in after seeing his profile posted on the FBI's Web site. 

Fleet did not speak during the court hearing and won't enter a plea to the charges until Friday. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said each of the charges carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

Fleet was recently listed as a "featured fugitive" on the FBI's Most Wanted list, just below Osama bin Laden, where he was described as a golf enthusiast who enjoyed "gambling and attending professional sporting events." 

He was last seen in San Diego in December 2006, just weeks after a Seattle federal grand jury had indicted him, according to an FBI statement. 

Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or mcarter@seattletimes.com 

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Copyright (c) 2008, Seattle Times

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