The feds have indicted South Dakota Republican schemer Paul Erickson, not centrally for any shenanigans with convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, but for wire fraud and money laundering stretching back to when Maria was just a Siberian grade-schooler:
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering.
Paul Erickson, age 56, was indicted on February 5, 2019. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on February 6, 2019, and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison for each count, and/or a $250,000 fine for wire fraud, and/or a $500,000 fine for money laundering, 3 years of supervised release, and up to $1,100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The Indictment alleges that on or about 1996, through August of 2018, Erickson knowingly and unlawfully devised a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money from many victims by means of false and fraudulent pretense, representations, and promises. Erickson owned and operated Compass Care, Inc., Investing with Dignity, LLC, and an unnamed venture to develop land in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. Erickson made various false and fraudulent representations to individuals located in South Dakota and elsewhere, to induce those investors to give him money to invest in his businesses, which were part of a scheme to defraud them and personally enrich Erickson [U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Dakota, press release, 2019.02.06].
The indictment lists some of the hogwash Erickson told his investors about his fake senior-care company Compass Care:
The indictment further accuses Erickson of bilking investors by telling them he was developing wheelchairs and buying land in North Dakota to build houses for Bakken oilers.
In support of the wire fraud charge, the indictment itemizes 22 checks from Erickson’s victims from 1999 through 2017 totaling $1.2 million:
The only clear Butina connection comes in Count 10, one of three money-laundering charges, in which prosecutors say Erickson transferred “criminally derived property”—$20,472.90— to American University, where “Red Fox” Butina was studying for her master’s degree. That payment is among $93K that Erickson transferred to Butina’s school and several other payments that Wells Fargo flagged for potential money-laundering last year.
Erickson has some of the best legal representation his ill-gotten money can buy. NPR reports that Erickson’s legal team consists of at least South Dakota power attorney Clint Sargent and Virginia “super lawyer” (that’s an actual term) William Hurd.
Virginia is roiled by photos from the 1980s of current officials in blackface. What will happen here in South Dakota as we start digging up the connections between our elected leaders and indicted financial fraudster Paul Erickson?