The Latest: Businessman pleads guilty to bilking investors

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on charges against a Montana businessman (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A businessman accused of fabricating a story that he was kidnapped by a biker gang in Virginia has pleaded guilty in a Montana court of bilking investors of more than $20 million.

Larry Wayne Price Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and making false statement to federal investigators.

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The Billings Gazette reports that prosecutors accused Price of stealing more than $20 million from three companies.

A plea deal includes Price forfeiting properties in Virginia and Montana, which includes Billings’ largest mansion at 26,000 square feet (2,415 square meters).

In April, Price was reported missing and later found on the side of a road in Virginia. He told authorities he was kidnapped and drugged by a gang.

FBI officials say Price was trying to disappear and start a new life with his mistress.

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9:05 a.m.

Federal prosecutors say a Montana businessman accused of putting investors’ money into his personal accounts is set to plead guilty to charges including wire fraud and money fraud.

The Billings Gazette reports that Larry Wayne Price Jr. would have to pay $28 million in restitution under a plea agreement filed by prosecutors in federal court in Montana. He is scheduled to appear in court in Billings on Tuesday for a change of plea hearing.

In Virginia, Price was charged with making fraudulent statements to the FBI after claiming he was abducted and drugged by a biker gang. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in May.

Price is the former vice president of surface mining at Signal Peak Energy, which operates a coal mine near Roundup.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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