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Former E. Idaho councilman pleads guilty to fraud

The former president of the Rigby City Council has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud for taking money from the estate of a deceased client two years ago.

Lawrence Blackburn entered an Alford Plea in the case Sept. 16 in 7th District Court. An Alford Plea means Blackburn doesn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence in the case for a jury to reach a conviction. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a separate charge of grand theft, according to a story published by the Post Register.

“It was simply a mistake that I had made, and I am willing to take responsibility for that,” Blackburn told judge Gregory Moeller.

Blackburn, who resigned from the city council in February, was accused of defrauding the estate of Margaret Orvick, who died in 2011, through his private investment firm, Lantech Financial. In estate documents, prosecutors said Blackburn identified himself as Orvick’s son and listed three of his own children as beneficiaries of her estate. Each of his children received $5,000 from her estate.

Court records also claim Blackburn used Orvick’s accounts for personal expenses, utility bills and hotel rooms in three states. Investigators said he also made cash withdrawals against the estate.

After resigning from the city council, Blackburn moved to Arizona, where he was arrested in May on a warrant.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend Blackburn serve 120 days in jail and argue for up to 15 years of probation. A restitution amount has not yet been determined.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18.

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