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'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Joe Francis Arrested After Skipping Hearing

February 2, 2009 | 11:04 am

Updated 3:40 p.m.

"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was arrested Monday afternoon after failing to appear for a hearing earlier in the day in a federal tax-evasion case.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero issued the warrant, which directed authorities to take Francis into custody and present him in court, according to Tom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said Francis was taken into custody when he reported to Otero's courtroom Monday afternoon, about five hours after he was supposed to appear there.

Last year, a grand jury in Reno accused Francis of two counts of tax evasion. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege Francis improperly deducted more than $20 million from his companies.

Francis was held without bail and will spend the night at the downtown Metropolitan Detention Center before appearing tomorrow before a U.S. magistrate judge.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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