South Dakota Republican man of mystery Paul Erickson has fessed up to being a con artist. On Monday afternoon, Erickson pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering:
In a two-page statement detailing the factual basis for the plea, Erickson said he conned someone only identified as “D.G.” into wiring him $100,000 under the pretense that the money was for a real estate investment in North Dakota. As part of the plea filed in U.S. district court in South Dakota, Erickson admits the money was not for a real estate deal. He also notes that he wired $1,000 of the money to a person called “M.B.” [Betsy Swan, “Paul Erickson, Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Boyfriend, Pleads Guilty to Fraud,” Yahoo News, 2019.11.18]
Erickson is pleading to two of eleven criminal counts in the original complaint. Those two counts each carry a maximum twenty-year sentence; the wire fraud charge carries a maximum $250K fine; money laundering can draw a $500K fine.
Erickson’s (former?) girlfriend, convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, received a hero’s welcome when was deported home to Russia after finishing her sentence in federal prison last month. It is unlikely Erickson will receive any bouquets of flowers or celebratory press conference from state officials here in his homeland… but, given the silly things our state government is saying this week, one never knows….