RAPID CITY - A former Rapid City surgeon convicted of trying to cheat the government out of more than $1 million in taxes has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Fifty-six-year-old Edward Picardi, of Sturgis, was accused of sending millions of dollars of income out of the country and filtering the money through offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Picardi said he put his trust in a financial adviser. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said Picardi's attempt to hide assets wasn't tax planning - it was criminal activity.

A jury last October convicted Picardi on 13 felony counts after a three-week trial. His medical license was revoked a few months later. The Internal Revenue Service has filed a civil case against him for $3.7 million in back taxes and penalties.

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