Boyfriend of admitted covert Russian agent accused of fraud

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The boyfriend of a Russian woman who admitted she was a secret agent for the Kremlin is charged with fraud in South Dakota.
The South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that 56-year-old Paul Erickson pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. The charges appear unrelated to the case of 30-year-old Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty in December for trying to infiltrate conservative political groups.
Prosecutors say Erickson defrauded “many victims” from 1996 through 2018 in a variety of development schemes.
Erickson in 2015 helped arrange speeches in South Dakota for Butina to talk about freedom and entrepreneurship at a school, at a university and a teenage Republican camp.
An attorney for Erickson didn’t immediately return a message from The Associated Press.

02-07-2019