PORTLAND, Ore.—An international fugitive and former resident of San Diego who is wanted in the District of Oregon for perpetrating a real estate scam was apprehended in and returned to the U.S. from Costa Rica after more than two decades on the run.
Robin James McPherson, who faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering in the District of Oregon, made a federal court appearance this week in Houston en route to the Southern District of California where he will soon be sentenced for tax crimes.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed today in Oregon, in early August 2019, the FBI began investigating McPherson after several individuals reported being the victims of a real estate scheme operating out of Springfield, Oregon and Costa Rica. McPherson is alleged to have used a variety of marketing techniques, including cold calls, promotional websites, and Facebook advertisements, to find potential investors in an alleged Costa Rican real estate development opportunity called the Carara Parque Resort Corporation. After victims showed interest in the faux investment opportunity, McPherson would conduct sales calls, from Costa Rica, to explain the project.
Over a period of months, McPherson directed victims to wire investment funds to a bank account in Oregon. He then transferred the funds to Costa Rica. Between December 2015 and August 2019, approximately $1.2 million dollars were transmitted to the Oregon bank account. McPherson used many different excuses to explain to his investors why no resort villas had been constructed. 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.
In December 2000, McPherson and two co-conspirators were found guilty at trial in the Southern District of California of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. Prior to being sentenced in March 2001, McPherson fled the U.S.
U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of the Oregon.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.