A 61-year-old man on the run for seven years pleaded guilty Wednesday to failing to report to the U.S. marshal to serve a sentence stemming from a tax fraud conviction, authorities said.
After stints in southern France and Arizona, Peter M. Sharma, 61, of Tarzana, was arrested last year while living under the assumed name Peter Reynolds, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Sharma's attorney could not be reached for comment.
Sharma's trouble with the law began in 1985 when he was arrested on charges of misappropriating investors' funds, laundering them through his accounts at a Beverly Hills brokerage firm and providing his victims with counterfeit monthly commodities statements that were used to prepare income-tax returns and cost taxpayers more than $1 million, said Lisa Feldman, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case.
He was arrested after a high-speed chase near his Westlake Village home. Feldman said that while Sharma was out on bond, he fled to southern France and failed to appear for trial.
Sometime later, he returned to the United States using the alias Joseph Descent and was arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz., in July 1988 after federal agents used a stun gun to subdue him, Feldman said.
After that arrest, Sharma finally pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud and was sentenced to a five-year prison term.
He was supposed to report to the marshal to begin his sentence in February 1989, but instead fled again and remained a fugitive until last May, when he was arrested in his Tarzana residence, authorities said.
Sharma is scheduled for sentencing June 9 on the failure to surrender to serve a prison term charge at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, authorities said.
The maximum penalty for that is 10 years in federal prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, Feldman said. The second prison term would be served after completing the original five-year term, she said.