Swede Pleads No Contest in Rare Car Case

Swedish businessman who crashed rare Ferrari pleads no contest to embezzling 2 other cars

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8, 2006

By ROBERT JABLON Associated Press Writer


A Swedish video game entrepreneur who wrecked a rare Ferrari by smashing it into a Malibu power pole at 162 mph was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded no contest to embezzling two other fancy cars and illegally possessing a gun.

Bo Stefan M. Eriksson, 44, entered the pleas four days after a jury deadlocked in his trial, closing a case that gained international notoriety after the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway crash.

Eriksson entered the pleas to two felony charges of embezzlement with the special allegation that the fraud exceeded $500,000. He also pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm _ a .357- magnum handgun found in a search of his Bel-Air mansion in March.

He spent five years in a Swedish prison in the 1990s for assault, extortion and other crimes.

“It was a fair resolution,” prosecutor Tamara Hall said after the hearing.

“There was a meeting of the minds. That’s why there’s a settlement,” said Alec Rose, one of Eriksson’s attorneys.

Two other counts of grand theft auto were dismissed.

Eriksson previously pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge in connection with the Feb. 21 crash that split in two a rare Ferrari Enzo valued at $1.5 million.

Jim Parkman, Eriksson’s lead attorney, said Eriksson was concerned about “the cost and the energy” of a second trial.

The beefy, blond former video game firm executive could have faced more than 11 years in prison had he been convicted. Instead, he could be out of prison in a year because of time served and good behavior, Parkman said. Eriksson has been in jail since his April arrest.

“He wanted to move on with his life. He feels like he could get out and be successful again,” Parkman said in a telephone interview after the hearing.

Prosecutors said Eriksson will face deportation after he completes his sentence and will not be allowed to return to the U.S.

His mansion, valued at up to $5.2 million, was seized and will be sold to help pay any restitution and fines, prosecutors said.

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