Fraud trial delayed for man linked to covert Russian agent

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota man linked to an admitted Russian covert agent will have more time to prepare for his trial on accusations he bilked at least $2.3 million from dozens of people in a bogus investment scam.

A judge on Friday agreed to move the trial for businessman and conservative political operative Paul Erickson, of Sioux Falls, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 3. A status update from attorneys is due on Nov. 19.

Investigators say Erickson spent the money he took in from victims on personal expenses such as motels, flights and college tuition for Maria Butina, his ex-girlfriend.

Butina was sentenced in April to 18 months in prison for gathering intelligence on the National Rifle Association and other groups at the direction of a former Russian lawmaker.