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Wyoming man behind mine fraud scheme gets 5 years in prison

October 3, 2020 GMT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A former Wyoming coal mine vice president was sentenced Friday to five years in prison almost two years after he pleaded guilty and admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his company and private investors.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced Larry Wayne Price Jr., 40, to three years of probation after his prison sentence.

Price embezzled tens of millions of dollars from his investors and helped his boss at the Signal Peak coal mine conduct a scheme of over-billing and fake equipment sales, the Billings Gazette reported.

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Price has admitted that his various crimes netted close to $40 million.

Former CEO of Signal Peak Brad Hanson died in February before he could be charged.

Others have been convicted in connection with Price’s schemes since he admitted wrongdoing in 2018, including the contractors that built his Billings mansion and who avoided federal taxes in a scheme with Price.

Price’s attorney Jennifer DeGraw recommended no more than two years in prison, telling the court that home confinement was a fair punishment. She said her client had lung damage from coal mine work and was at an increased risk if he contracted the coronavirus in prison.

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of five to six and a half years in prison.