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BILLINGS — A Billings businessman has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in an insurance fraud scheme.

The U.S. attorney's office says Robert Shane Peterson was sentenced on July 12 after earlier pleading guilty to a federal mail fraud charge.

Prosecutors alleged Peterson and co-defendant Ryan Paul Shipman conspired to defraud Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of over $155,000 by filing false claims and sharing the proceeds.

Prosecutors say the scam began when Shipman, an insurance claims representative, sought reimbursement for damage that did not happen to claims filed by Peterson and companies he owned. Prosecutors alleged Shipman inflated the damage amounts on other insurance claims, as well.

Shipman is serving a 21-month prison sentence. Both men are responsible for $155,000 in restitution.

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