A New York man once dubbed by prosecutors as the government's most wanted deadbeat parent pleaded guilty Thursday to owing more than $1.2 million to three children from two failed marriages.
Robert Sand, 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on Long Island to two counts of failing to pay child support. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Bode said in court that the child support orders, which were issued on Long Island, have been in arrears since at least 2002.
The figure cited by Bode includes interest and penalties. The prosecutor declined to comment to reporters after the court proceeding.
Sand told the judge he fled first to Florida and then to Thailand Sand's attorney, Glenn Obedin, said his client had grown tired of living on the run and contacted authorities late last year.
Sand left Thailand, where he had worked in an assortment of odd jobs, and flew to the Philippines. He was arrested and then deported from the Philippines in November 2012 because he lacked proper identification, prosecutors said. He was sent to Los Angeles, where he was arrested by federal marshals, and then extradited to New York, where he has been held without bail since December.
"He had enough and wanted to come back and have the opportunity to make it right," Obedin told reporters after the court proceeding on Long Island.
Sand faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced in May.
"Neither court orders nor the familial bond meant anything to him as he fled to avoid his obligations," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
The two mothers of Sand's three children were not in the courtroom for Thursday's proceeding, but Obedin has said he has contacted them and claimed their priority is for Sand to be free to earn a living so he can repay his debt. As part of the plea agreement, Sand is required to make full restitution. He waived his right to appeal the guilty plea.
Obedin said Sand has worked in the past as a car salesman and has an offer to work in that field when he is released.