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Former Mesa resident gets jail time for fraud in Idaho

RIGBY, Idaho -- A man who briefly lived in Mesa has been ordered to spend 150 days in jail and 10 years on probation for insurance fraud in Idaho.

Lawrence Blackburn, 50, was also ordered Monday to pay $30,000 in restitution and serve 100 hours of community service for his conviction on insurance fraud.

Blackburn was charged with defrauding the estate of Margaret Orvick, who died in 2011, through his private investment firm, Lantech Financial, according to a story published Tuesday in the Post Register. Prosecutors said Blackburn identified himself as Orvick's son in her estate documents and listed three of his own children as beneficiaries of her estate.

In exchange for his modified guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a grand theft charge.

At the sentencing hearing Monday, 7th District Judge Gregory Moeller said Blackburn rejected the former councilman's claims that Orvick considered him a son and that his actions were simply an accident.

"I don't believe for one second that in any way this was an accident," Moeller said.

In a separate Oct. 11, 2012, judgment, Moeller awarded $30,000 to Orvick's daughter in a civil lawsuit. Blackburn's insurance license was revoked and he was fined $3,000 by the Idaho Department of Insurance, officials said.

Blackburn resigned from the Rigby City Council on Feb. 5 and moved to Mesa, Ariz. He was arrested May 17 in Gilbert, Ariz., and was returned to Jefferson County by officers from the Mesa Police Department.

Defense attorney Jason Rammell said Blackburn and his family had helped take care of Margaret Orvick, calling her more than a client to Blackburn.

"They took care of her and treated her as a part of the family," Rammell said.

Blackburn will be credited for the 30 days he already served. Moeller also mandated that Blackburn have 180 days of discretionary jail time that may be imposed if he violates probation. He is also responsible for paying a $1,000 fine and can no longer be in the position of handling anyone else's money.

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Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com

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