Robert D. Sand, 50, wanted by police since he stopped paying child support two years after a Nassau County, N.Y., Family Court order in 1995, was arrested in Los Angeles Dec. 18. With a federal arrest warrant issued in 2002 against him, he was a fugitive for more than 20 years, The New York Times reported.
His high-profile case, in which the U.S. Department of Justice labeled him the "Most Wanted Deadbeat Parent," highlights the dilemma the child support enforcement system faces, whether to send Sand to prison to punish him or let him remain free so he can work to pay the back child support, the newspaper said.
"If it was five years ago, I'd want to see him rot away in jail," Rita Sand said of her ex-husband. "Now I don't care for that. I want to see him work, and pay his debt back to me and my children."
Sand is the second person currently facing prosecution in federal court in New York for seven-figure child support arrears, prosecutors said.
His daughters are now 25 and 22. Rita Sand supported them with a job in retail sales, the newspaper said.
Sand's lawyer, Glenn A. Obedin, said his client does not contest owing child support. Obedin hopes to negotiate a plea deal, he said.
"The best-case scenario would be no jail time, but probation," said federal agent Joseph A. Napolitano, "but a condition of the probation would be making payments."