Following news of a mistrial declared
in the grand theft auto and fraud case of Stefan Eriksson, the former Gizmondo executive has today entered a surprise guilty plea to charges of embezzlement, illegal weapon possession, and drunk driving, and has been sentenced to three and a half years in a California jail.
The charges against the former Gizmondo handheld console executive stemmed from his high-profile crash
in Los Angeles in February of this year. The vehicle, an exotic Enzo Ferrari, turned out to have been illegally imported from the United Kingdom and was, along with another Ferrari and a rare Mercedes, still owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
According to Eriksson's lawyer, the guilty plea was entered due to concerns over costs and time associated with going forward with another trial. "Essentially, it was what Stefan wanted to do," commented attorney Jim Parkman in a statement to the media. "Stefan believes he can be successful in the future. He wanted to move on and ultimately be out of jail in a year."
However, once Eriksson is released from prison, he will be deported from the United States as a condition of his guilty plea. In addition, Eriksson's Bel-Air mansion, estimated to be worth between $4 and $5 million, was also seized by officials and will be sold in order to pay fines and offer restitution to banks embroiled in the proceedings.