A man accused of running a real estate scam out of both Springfield and Costa Rica was arrested in Costa Rica and returned to the US, after more than 20 years on the run for a separate case, according to the US Department of Justice in a news release Wednesday.
The defendant, former San Diego resident Robin James McPherson, had been labeled as an international fugitive since 2000 for a separate case of fraud and tax evasion. More recently he was wanted for alleged wire fraud and money laundering by the DOJ.
The FBI first investigated McPherson in 2019, after several people reported being victims of a real estate scam in Springfield and Costa Rica, according to the criminal complaint. McPherson allegedly used marketing techniques such as cold calls, promotional websites and Facebook ads to find potential investors in an alleged Cost Rican real estate development opportunity called the Carara Parque Resort Corporation, the DOJ said.
After the scammed victims showed interest in the fraudulent investment opportunity, McPherson would allegedly conduct sales calls from Costa Rica to explain the project.
Over the next few months, McPherson would direct victims to wire investment funds to a bank account in Oregon, before he transferred the money to Costa Rica, the DOJ alleges. Around $ 1.2 million was put into the Oregon bank account between December 2015 and August 2019.
“McPherson used many different excuses to explain to his investors why no resort villas had been constructed,” according to the release. “McPherson did not disclose to investors that their contracts had not been honored and no villas were slated for construction. McPherson used investors’ funds to pay for various personal expenses including his own mortgage. ”
McPherson was found guilty in 2000 of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion along with two co-conspirators, and he fled the country before his sentencing, the DOJ said.
Now that McPherson has been caught, he faces faces charges via a criminal complaint for wire fraud and money laundering in the District of Oregon. He made a federal court appearance this week in Houston, on the way to the Southern District of California where he will soon be sentenced for the two-decade-old tax crimes.
Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter LouisKraussNews.