The man branded the nation's worst deadbeat dad by federal
officials pleaded guilty to charges he failed to pay more
than $US1 million in child support after a run from the law
that took him around the world and ended with his arrest in
Robert Sand, 50, was a successful businessman who lived in
the suburbs of Long Island east of New York City before
disappearing more than 10 years ago. He had been married
twice and had three children, including a daughter with his
second wife, whom he left in 2001.
According to federal investigators, Sand had been under
orders to pay child support since 1996, and arrest warrants
had been issued for him in 2000, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
After fleeing New York for Florida and then Thailand,
investigators said Sand, who had earned $US500,000-$US600,000
in the early 1990s, under-reported his income to try to dodge
child support payments.
He was caught trying to enter the Philippines without proper
paperwork last November, then was put on a plane to Los
Angeles, arrested and sent to Islip, N.Y., to face trial.
With interest and penalties, the amount he owes comes to
about $US1.2 million.
Sand had topped the nation's list of deadbeat parents since
the Department of Health and Human Services launched it in
January 2012. Modeled after the FBI's most-wanted list, it
features mug shots of accused deadbeats and information on
their possible whereabouts.
Since the list went up, several of the alleged deadbeats have
been captured, but none of their debts has topped Sand's. The
title of "most wanted deadbeat" is now held by a Tacoma,
Washington, man who owes more than $US259,000 and is believed
to have fled the country.
Not just any deadbeat can make the deadbeat most-wanted list.
Among other things, the deadbeat must owe more than $US5000
in child support, live in a different state than the child,
or have fled to another state or country to avoid paying
In a jailhouse interview after his arrest last year, Sand
said he wanted to change his ways, the New York Daily
"I want to be a good dad in the future," the Daily
News quoted him as saying. It also said he did not expect
a lot of sympathy from his ex-wives or anyone else.
In court, prosecutors and the defence said Sand simply got
tired of running after all those years and was ready to pay
up. He pleaded guilty to two counts and faces two years in
prison on each when he is sentenced in May.