Convicted criminal Lerner caught in Paraguay

Police revealed on Monday that the convicted criminal Gregory Lerner was arrested on Sunday night in Paraguay after fleeing from Israel using a forged passport. Army Radio reported that a huge sum of money was found in his possession. Judge Hanan Gold said he was "caught by surprise" by the escape, adding that Lerner had told him that due to his poor health he planned to spend some time relaxing in Eilat. Lerner, who has already served six years in prison for fraud, reached a plea bargain agreement with the state in February, whereby he would go to jail again, this time for embezzlement, forgery and money laundering. According to the plea bargain, the state agreed to drop the charges of obstruction of justice against him. Lerner and the state agreed that the sentence would include jail time, but did not settle on how long a prison term he would receive. On the basis of Lerner's confession, he was convicted of cheating two businessmen out of $1.025 million and then laundering the money by depositing it in bank accounts he controlled, which were registered in his friends' names.