Sioux Falls Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Paul Erickson, age 58, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, appeared before District Judge Karen E. Schreier on November 26, 2019, and pled guilty to an Indictment that charged him with one Count of Wire Fraud and one Count of Money Laundering.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is 20 years in federal prison, and/or up to $500,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.
Erickson solely operated a business venture to develop land in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. Through his business, he became acquainted with several individuals with whom he developed strong professional and personal relationships. He approached many of those individuals about investing in his business. However, he falsely represented to investors that he would use the money to purchase real estate and the construction of single-family homes in North Dakota, which he did not do.
On March 1, 2017, he accepted a $100,000 wire transfer that was deposited into his Wells Fargo bank account, which was supposed to be an investment in his business. He told the investor that the money would be used for the development of real estate in North Dakota and that the amount would be repaid no later than August 28, 2017. However, he did not invest the money received into the Bakken oil fields venture and he did not repay the investor.
Furthermore, from the $100,000 Erickson received on March 1, 2017, he conducted a financial transaction and transferred $1,000 to someone.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper.
A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for March 2, 2020. The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing.