Fugitive Deported to the United States for Sentencing After More Than 21 Years
Fled in 2000 After Being Convicted on Tax Charges
A former California man made a court appearance earlier this week after being apprehended and deported from Costa Rica, so that he could be sentenced by a federal judge on his U.S. conviction for tax crimes.
In December 2000, Robin J. McPherson, formerly of San Diego, and two co-conspirators were found guilty at trial of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. According to evidence presented at trial, McPherson was the President, Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Continental Wireless Cable Inc., a telemarketing company that sold more than $30 million in purported partnership interests in wireless cable systems before being shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission. McPherson and his co-conspirators took steps to evade paying taxes on profits earned by Continental Wireless Cable Inc., causing a tax loss to the IRS of more than $1 million in taxes.
Following McPherson’s trial conviction in 2000, the district court ordered him and his co-defendants to appear for sentencing in March 2001. Instead, McPherson fled the United States and did not return for the sentencing hearing.
“It is fitting that Robin McPherson was arrested and returned to the United States to be sentenced on his tax crime convictions,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “While honest Americans are paying their fair share this filing season, they will be reminded that the department and IRS will ensure that those who have defrauded the IRSs are held fully accountable, no matter how long it takes.”
“This defendant dodged both his taxes and his sentencing hearing,” said U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman for the Southern District of California. “Thanks to the FBI and Costa Rican authorities, he’ll now be held responsible for both.”
“The defendant was convicted for his role in a complex financial fraud scheme in 2000 and fled the U.S. before he was sentenced,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “This international arrest and deportation, more than two decades later, should serve as notice to FBI fugitives worldwide - neither time nor distance will deter the FBI from tracking down wanted fugitives and holding them accountable in U.S. courts. The FBI is proud to work alongside IRS-Criminal Investigation, and I specifically want to thank the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Panama City for their outstanding work in coordinating with local authorities in Costa Rica to locate and arrest the defendant.”
“It has been more than 20 years since the defendant was convicted in federal court for tax crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “After eluding the authorities as a fugitive, McPherson was finally caught and is now being brought back to the United States to face his crimes. Criminals may think that they can run and evade justice, but we as a law enforcement agency will continue to hold them accountable.”
McPherson is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. McPherson faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the conspiracy and tax evasion counts. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
McPherson is also wanted to stand trial in the District of Oregon for fraud and money laundering charges. In October 2020, McPherson was charged by criminal complaint in the District of Oregon for his role in a fraud scheme in which he allegedly solicited $1.2 million in investments from victims in a fake Costa Rican real estate development opportunity. McPherson allegedly used investor funds to pay for various personal expenses including his own mortgage.
The United States is grateful to the Government of Costa Rica for its cooperation and support in apprehending McPherson, as well as the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI Legat Panama City.
IRS-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California provided significant assistance.
Former Tax Division trial attorneys Danny N. Roetzel and Lori A. Hendrickson prosecuted the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.