Ferrari case downshifts to plea deal
By Jill Leovy
Times Staff Writer
1:31 PM PST, November 7, 2006
It started with a crash and ended with a fizzle as Bo Stephan Eriksson, alleged driver of the infamous, red, smashed Enzo Ferrari, accepted a plea deal today in a Los Angeles courtroom.
Eriksson, 44, is expected to spend about a year in prison after pleading no contest to two counts of embezzlement related to his dealings with two exotic cars, and one count of possessing a gun illegally. His plea concludes a case that captivated public attention after images of the red Ferrari reduced to a severed wreck on Pacific Coast Highway showed up on newscasts last February.
The court proceeding today signaled a curtain falling on the colorful Eriksson drama: Not only have Eriksson's remaining two fantastically expensive exotic cars — a black Ferrari Enzo and a McLaren Mercedes-Benz — been shipped back to European banks, prosecutors said today that Eriksson's Bel Air house will go into receivership.
Eriksson himself stands to be deported after he gets out of prison, though his lawyer Alec Rose said he has planned to leave voluntarily anyway.
"Mr. Eriksson looked over the situation and there was a meeting of the minds, and that's why he settled," said Rose. The settlement was possible once, "emotions were out of the way," he added.
"Justice has prevailed," said prosecutor Tamara Hall.
A jury weighing charges that Eriksson had been involved in a scheme to take the black Enzo and the McLaren Mercedes-Benz to the U.S. illegally deadlocked 10-2 with the majority voting for guilty last week.
He faced a retrial in that case, and also a trial on a separate weapons-possession charge after Sheriff's deputies searching his home found a gun after the Ferrari crash. Eriksson had already agreed to a plea deal related to a drunk driving charge.
Eriksson's actual sentence is three years in state prison followed by up to three years parole, a $5,000 fine, and a restitution amount to be determined in a hearing Dec. 7. But because of credits for good behavior and the amount of time he has already served in county jail, he is expected to be freed in a year or so.