Fat Steve

Stefan Eriksson became known by the Swedish police as Tjock-Steffe (“Fat Steve”), he was the leader of the local mob in the city of Uppsala, some 60 km north of Stockholm. In the early 90s, Eriksson became the head of a group the Swedish press dubbed Uppsalamaffian (the “Uppsala mafia”), responsible for some high-profile violent crimes rarely seen in the country. A playboy, Eriksson showed off on an offshore race boat, capable of 56 knots, called Snövit (Snow White). It was absurdly docked downtown Uppsala on the small river. He was also seen driving a Mercedes SL with the license plate reading GHB. With a legal front Kanoninkasso (“Cannon debt collection”), the group collected debt using threats and violence. Establishing a reputation, they started to dress in expensive suits and hold “business meetings” in exclusive Stockholm hotels. Attempting to defraud the Swedish Bank Giro Central of 22 million kronor, Eriksson and Peter Uf, the other future executive of Gizmondo, were found guilty of fraud and counterfeiting. In 1993 and 1994, Eriksson was sentenced to eleven and a half years in prison, only to serve half his sentence. Court documents show that Eriksson and a partner broke into a man’s home, smashed his apartment and punched him repeatedly in the face, that Eriksson held a knife to the man’s throat and threatened to cut off his fingers, and finally shoved a gun into the man’s mouth. The Swedish police had great difficulties in finding people who dared to testify, and the head witness later survived two bomb attacks.

In 2001, Eriksson joined Carl Freer in Great Britain in the company Gizmondo, which intended to rival Nintendo and Sony for the handheld videogames market. Through some innovative financial transactions, Freer could take his company onto the Nasdaq exchange and raise hundreds of millions. In October 2005, a Swedish paper revealed irregularities and an ex-con and on-the-run from prison management at Gizmondo. Eriksson, Freer and others resigned, and the company filed for bankruptcy after using up $300 million, 90% in its last six months. However, in August, Gizmondo relocated Eriksson to California for its US launch with question marks around how the felon Eriksson could even enter the country at all. In 2006, with a setup similar to now defunct Gizmondo, the virtual mobile operator XeroMobile was started through Eriksson’s earlier partners, and he was facing a bright future.

In February, 2006, Eriksson lost control of an Enzo Ferrari, valued at over $1 million while allegedly driving at high speed and intoxicated along the Pacific Coastal Highway in California. The car hit a pole at about 199 mph (320.61 km/h). The impact of the crash was so violent that it split the car in half. Eriksson was found at the site. But he claimed to be a passenger of the Ferrari, and that a man he only knew as “Dietrich” was the driver. Dietrich was not to be found, and the police concluded at the time that Eriksson was the driver. Further, the extent of Eriksson’s injuries amounted to a cut lip, and blood was found on the driver’s side airbag. In March, Nicole Persson, Eriksson’s wife, was pulled over for driving without a license in a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The police found the car to be unregistered, carrying British license plates, and illegally exported from Britain – along with the crashed red Enzo Ferrari, a second black Enzo, and two other Mercedes-Benz cars. It was found that all five cars valued at $3.8million were leased in Britain. The cars were reported stolen in Britain.

Police raided Eriksson’s Bel Air home and in April, Eriksson was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, grand theft auto, drunken driving, cocaine possession, and weapons charges. He was facing up to 14 years in prison. Eriksson accepted a plea bargain for three years in jail and deportation. With allowance for time served and good behavior, he should be out of prison in about a year.