SAWYER, N.D. --  The state has filed an insurance fraud charge against a 28-year-old Sawyer rancher who was convicted last year of beating his friend with a PVC pipe in 2014, who then is accused of telling the victim to tell an insurance company he fell off a horse.

Weston James Aho made an initial appearance on the Class C felony charge on Monday in district court in Minot. He faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Aho told the victim, Alberto Reyes-Ramos, to tell his insurance company that he was injured when he fell off a horse at Aho's ranch. Reyes-Ramos filed a claim for $5,000 with the North Star Mutual Insurance Company and received reimbursement in September 2014.

Aho pleaded guilty in April 2016 to hitting Reyes-Ramos in the head from behind with a PVC pipe. He was sentenced to three years in prison, with a requirement that he serve 240 days, and three years of supervised probation. He also was ordered to pay $23,247.11 in restitution and $825 in court costs.

(MDN)