Sioux Falls man involved with Russian spy charged with wire fraud
Paul Erickson, the Sioux Falls political operative who was involved with Russian agent Maria Butina, has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
Erickson, 56, could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $750,000 fine for defrauding multiple victims using false pretenses, representations and promises.
The charges date back to 1996, and allege that 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 used false and fraudulent representations to convince numerous individuals located in South Dakota and elsewhere to invest in his various business entities. He then used the money to personally enrich himself.
The charges are merely accusations and Erickson has not been proven guilty. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the IRS.
Erickson has been released on bond and no trial date is set.
Erickson made news this past year for his romantic relationship with Maria Butina, 30, who pleaded guilty to being an illegal foreign agent.
As part of her plea deal she admitted that her agenda was to forge connections with conservative leaders and influence the Republican Party to favor Russian interests.