A California fugitive pleaded guilty to fresh fraud charges Thursday, 20 years after he originally went on the run from federal authorities for avoiding his sentencing hearing that followed a prior fraud conviction.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon said Robin James McPherson, a former resident of San Diego, resolved three separate pending criminal cases when he pleaded guilty to failing to appear, willfully attempting to evade income taxes and wire fraud.
McPherson and two co-conspirators were found guilty in December 2000 of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion in the Southern District of California. However, he fled the country before he could be sentenced in March 2001.
McPherson came back on the FBI’s radar in August 2019 when its office in Eugene, Oregon, received reports from several people who were victimized by a real estate scam in Costa Rica that had ties to Eugene.
According to federal prosecutors, McPherson lured in investors with online advertisements and cold calls, and then conducted sales calls from Costa Rica once they showed interest in his development opportunity called Carara Parque Resort Corporation.
His Oregon-based bank account was wired over $1.2 million in investment funds between December 2015 and August 2019, according to prosecutors. McPherson made up various excuses during that time to explain why no resort villas had been constructed with the invested money, which he was actually using to pay for personal expenses and his own mortgage.
Federal prosecutors in Oregon charged McPherson with wire fraud and money laundering in October 2020. He was arrested by Costa Rican authorities in May 2022 and extradited to San Diego.
McPherson will be sentenced in California federal court in April, where he could face up to 30 years in prison.