Ex-La Jolla businessman convicted of tax evasion pleads guilty to fleeing U.S. to avoid sentencing

The former president and co-owner of a La Jolla-based telemarketing company who fled the United States more than 20 years ago before sentencing in a tax-crime case pleaded guilty this week to a federal bail-jumping charge.

Robin McPherson was scheduled to appear at a March 2001 sentencing hearing after he was convicted in U.S. District Court in San Diego of tax evasion and conspiracy, but instead fled the country, according to the Department of Justice.

McPherson, who was president of Continental Wireless Cable Inc., was convicted along with two co-defendants of evading taxes on profits the company earned, leading to a tax loss to the Internal Revenue Service of more than $1 million, according to a DOJ statement.

McPherson was apprehended last year in Costa Rica.

In addition to the bail-jumping charge, McPherson pleaded guilty Jan. 26 to attempted tax evasion and wire fraud charges in two unrelated cases.

According to court documents, the attempted tax evasion stemmed from taxes McPherson and a co-defendant tried to escape in 1999 and 2000.

The wire fraud charge stemmed from a case in which prosecutors say that between 2016 and 2022, McPherson solicited investor funds for a fake Costa Rican real estate development project, then used the money for personal expenses. Investor funds were wired to a bank in Oregon, which were then wired to Costa Rica, according to court documents.

Prosecutors alleged that dozens of investors were defrauded, resulting in about $1.5 million in losses.

McPherson is slated to be sentenced in all the cases later this year. ◆