A Syosset man described last year by the federal government as its "most wanted deadbeat" parent pleaded guilty to criminal charges Thursday and agreed to pay the $1.2 million he owed in child support from two marriages.

Businessman Robert Sand, 50, pleaded guilty before Judge Joseph Bianco in U.S. District Court in Islip to two counts of failing to pay child support.

Sand had been a fugitive for more than a decade when he was arrested in November while attempting to enter the Philippines without identification. He was extradited to the United States in December, but authorities said he knew investigators were closing in on him after tracking him to Thailand.

"In essence, he got tired of running," Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode said in court Thursday.

Sand's attorney, Glenn Obedin of Central Islip, echoed that. "Mr. Sand wants to do the appropriate thing to set things right, and he's taken the first step in doing just that," Obedin said. "Mr. Sand is a capable person, and given the opportunity to work, I am confident he will obtain good employment and pay off his debt."

Sand admitted he fled to Florida and later left the country in an effort to avoid arrest warrants issued in 2000 by Nassau County Family Court and in 2002 by the federal government. He was indicted in 2009 on two counts of failure to pay child support.

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He faces up to 41 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established a website -- https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/child-support-enforcement/ -- in January 2012 to identify the most wanted deadbeat parent, and Sand had been No. 1 on the list for a time.

The current "most wanted deadbeat" parent is Kenneth Jones of Tacoma, Wash., who owes $259,000, is the subject of an arrest warrant and is believed to be in either Australia or Hong Kong.

Sand had lived in Syosset and was in the auto auction business, earning between $500,000 to $600,000 annually in the early 1990s, according to court documents.

With William Murphy