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Noem returns doctor's donation after tax fraud conviction

Edward Picardi
News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
The Daily Republic
Noem returns doctor's donation after tax fraud conviction
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem has returned $4,000 in campaign contributions from a man convicted of felony tax evasion.

A federal jury convicted Rapid City surgeon Edward Picardi after a three-week trial on 13 charges that he filtered millions of dollars of income through offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

The media reports that Picardi and his wife gave Noem a combined $4,000 in the past two years and another $4,500 in 2010. The South Dakota Democratic Party called on Noem to return the money.

Noem campaign manager Tom Erickson says the campaign immediately returned the $4,000 after learning of Picardi's conviction. He says the $4,500 donated in the previous election cycle already was spent.

Noem is a Republican. Democrat Matt Varilek is trying to unseat her.