- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A man who was convicted of defrauding a Montana Indian tribe now faces an escape charge after prosecutors say he fled from a minimum-security prison last fall, then was re-captured after crashing a stolen vehicle during a high-speed chase.

In March, a federal grand jury indicted Gary Conti on charges that he escaped from the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris kept the case sealed while Conti recovered from injuries suffered in the November crash, then made it public Thursday and scheduled a June 21 hearing.

Conti went missing from the prison on Oct. 30, just days after a court rejected an appeal of his conviction for participating in a scheme to defraud a Blackfeet Tribe youth program. Conti was serving a five-year sentence after a jury convicted him in 2014 on more than two dozen charges related to bankruptcy fraud and kicking back money to two of the program’s leaders.

The fugitive made his way to Bozeman and stole a Jeep from a home, police said at the time. Officers spotted him early on Nov. 2 and pursued him on Interstate 90. He swerved to avoid spike strips authorities had laid across the roadway, and crashed into a parked patrol vehicle, police said.

He was seriously injured and is being held in a federal medical center while he recovers. Prosecutors declined to describe his injuries.

Conti was represented in his appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Larry Jent of Bozeman, who is running for Montana attorney general. Jent said he did not know whether he would represent Conti in the new case and declined to comment further.


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