One of two convicted con artists who escaped from a minimum-security federal prison near Duluth in March has pleaded guilty.
Michael Joseph Krzyzaniak, 64, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in St. Paul and could have up to five years tacked on to the more than 12 years he has been serving for wire fraud and tax evasion.
The case against Krzyzaniak’s fellow fugitive, 67-year-old Gerald Greenfield, of Bloomington, is still pending. Both are under U.S. Marshals Service custody at an undisclosed facility in the Twin Cities area.
Krzyzaniak and Greenfield were detected missing during a routine head count March 30. Six days later, they were captured 175 miles away at the Hampton Inn in Burnsville after law enforcement received a tip. A hotel spokeswoman said the two had been at the hotel since their flight, registered under an alias.
At an April hearing, a Duluth prison camp guard said footprints in the snow showed that one had climbed a snowbank and jumped a fence and that the other had pushed open a loose gate.
The camp is described in a criminal complaint as having no “walls or fences to contain prisoners; rather, using an honor system.” Inmates have access to recreational facilities, can take college courses and even “leave the confines of the institution on furlough for medical appointments.”
In 1988, Krzyzaniak skipped town as he faced trial in connection with a bogus scheme to sell $550,000 worth of U.S. veteran commemorative medallions. He was arrested seven months later in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was setting up another telemarketing operation. He has about nine years to serve for bilking investors by promoting development projects that never happened, including a NASCAR-style racetrack in the Elko New Market area and a resort and housing development in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
Greenfield was serving four years for assisting a mortgage scam for the Sexton Lofts in downtown Minneapolis by helping hide profits with an attorney friend in Australia. His projected release date was Nov. 2, 2015.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482