High-profile investigations into declared pay-to-play towing in Northwest Indiana connected to accumulate federal board active in 2018.
Former Lake County Sheriff John Buncich in January 2018 accustomed a added than 15-year book for application his appointment to accost bribes from tow operators. His two co-defendants, above Arch Timothy Downs and William Szarmach, of C.S.A. Towing, who cooperated with federal investigators, anniversary accustomed two years of probation.
Downs, Szarmach and Buncich were called in a multicount allegation in November 2016 alleging a towing adjustment area the sheriff accustomed bribes in the anatomy of bags of dollars in banknote and donations to his attack fund, Buncich Boosters, according to cloister records.
Szarmach was afterwards answerable with filing a apocryphal tax return, and agreed to pay advancement of $89,000 in amends as a allotment of his sentence.
The above sheriff, who is actuality captivated in a federal bastille in Springfield, Mo., accustomed absolute account on his address Dec. 21.
In his address filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Cloister of Appeals in Chicago, Buncich argued auspiciously that there was bereft affirmation to abutment any of his wire artifice convictions, cloister annal state.
“The United States concedes that it bootless to acquaint acceptable affirmation of ‘Federal assets amount fund’ transfers as declared in counts 1 through 3 of the indictment,” Abettor U.S. Advocate David Hollar wrote in the response.
“Those counts should be vacated, and the case should be adjourned for resentencing on the actual counts,” Hollar said.
The government argued, however, that there was “sufficient evidence” to captive Buncich of his two actual wire artifice counts, the acknowledgment states.
Buncich was accusable the aforementioned day as Portage Ambassador James Snyder, but that case is accustomed to go to balloon in January.
Portage Ambassador James Snyder arrives to the federal courthouse in Hammond with his attorneys for a pre-trial audition on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Portage Ambassador James Snyder arrives to the federal courthouse in Hammond with his attorneys for a pre-trial audition on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)
Much of 2018 was spent litigating how federal board handled and buried email communications amid Snyder and his attorneys. Snyder argued the adulterated action apparent the federal balloon aggregation to advocate applicant advantaged information, and should accreditation the recusal of those abettor U.S. attorneys or the adjournment of some of the charges.
Federal prosecutors said Snyder has not presented any affirmation that shows his email communications were acclimated in any abnormal way during the investigation, according to cloister documents, and that a adjudicator should not disqualify the prosecutors on the case or abolish any accuse adjoin the Portage mayor.
Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen beneath to abolish the balloon aggregation or abolish any of the charges.
“The cloister finds that, as agitated out in this case, the clarify action formed sufficiently, alike if the action itself has inherent flaws (it has a affinity of the fox attention the hen house),” Van Bokkelen said, in his order.
Snyder’s attorneys acquire asked Van Bokkelen to amend the order.
A above Merrillville boondocks councilman, who federal board said during affidavit in Buncich’s case was an aboriginal ambition of the towing investigation, was bedevilled to 15 months in bastille in June.
Tom Goralcyzk accustomed he helped a tow abettor defended a adjustment with Merrillville and accustomed two acclimated cartage and added items to accomplish that arrangement.
The accuse said that Goralczyk “did advisedly and corruptly accost demand, acquire and accede to accept” a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee; a 2008 Ford Focus; four new camper tires; and chargeless accumulator for a motorcycle from “Individual A” in acknowledgment for a towing adjustment from Merrillville, according to cloister documents.
Goralczyk presented apocryphal bills of auction to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Cartage for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which he acquired for $400 admitting the amount was in balance of $2,500, and for the Ford Focus, which he accustomed for chargeless admitting it was admired in balance of $5,000, according to cloister documents.
Lake County’s above agent arch of badge was pulled into Buncich’s case in April, back he was answerable for lying to the FBI back he was interviewed by federal board about towing operations.
Dan Murchek, 58, of Schererville, was bedevilled in September to two years of acquittal by federal Adjudicator James Moody. Murchek was accusable in April for allegedly authoritative apocryphal statements to the FBI, according to cloister documents, and reportedly aria to board during an account about towing operations beneath bedevilled above Buncich back the above agent arch was asked about attack contributions he accustomed from a tow operator.
Above Lake County Agent Badge Arch Dan Murchek arrives to federal cloister in Hammond for sentencing on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.
Former Lake County Agent Badge Arch Dan Murchek arrives to federal cloister in Hammond for sentencing on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)
During the abatement of 2016, Murchek had appear he planned to run for sheriff during the 2018 election, as Buncich had served two afterwards agreement and was banned by appellation banned from active again.
On Sept. 23, 2016, Murchek met with “Person A,” who was recording the affair in cooperation with the FBI, and discussed how to anatomy a attack donation to abstain Indiana’s limitation on business contributions, according to cloister documents.
The allegation said “Person A” allegedly gave Murchek a $1,000 donation from his business, which was a towing close that did assignment for the Sheriff’s Department, and a claimed analysis for $500 from one of the business’ employees. “Person A” had accustomed an agent $500, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the agent again wrote a analysis to Murchek’s campaign.
During a November 2016 account with the FBI, agents asked Murchek about contributions from “Person A,” according to the indictment, but he denied alignment the donation to brim Indiana attack donation limits.
Moody, during Murchek’s September sentencing, decried the above deputy’s chief’s conduct.
“You’ll be remembered as a crook,” Moody said.
“Yes, sir,” Murchek said, during sentencing.
The Porter County adjudicator in October was accusable on a tax allegation accompanying to his claimed business, according to cloister documents, but is accustomed to abet adjoin the Portage mayor, his brother.
Jon Snyder, 42, has pleaded accusable to declining to accumulation advice to the IRS, a abomination charge.
Snyder, as buyer of Shoreline Appraisals Inc., allegedly bootless to accord the IRS an “Informational Acknowledgment 1099 Form, which is a claim for non-employees who accustomed added than $600 in payments during a agenda year, according to cloister documents.
Snyder and Shoreline Appraisals allegedly bootless to book the certificate for “Person A,” who was paid added than $5,000 in 2013, according to cloister documents.
The long-running case adjoin advisers at the Calumet Belt Trustee’s appointment anguish bottomward in 2018.
Former Trustee Mary Elgin, 74, was bedevilled in May to a year and a day in bastille afterwards she pleaded accusable to two counts of wire fraud, one calculation of cabal to accomplish wire artifice and one calculation of abortion to book a tax return. She is actuality captivated at a federal bastille in Pekin, Ill. She has a June 28 absolution date, according to Bureau of Prisons website.
Mary Elgin, above Calumet Belt trustee, is wheeled out of the federal courthouse in Hammond by her son, Steven Hunter, afterwards her sentencing audition on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
Mary Elgin, above Calumet Belt trustee, is wheeled out of the federal courthouse in Hammond by her son, Steven Hunter, afterwards her sentencing audition on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)
Elgin acclimated belt advisers and offices to run political campaigns and accession money for political fundraisers. “The college the employee’s salary, the added tickets advisers were accustomed and accustomed to purchase” for the fundraisers, cloister annal state.
Steven Hunter, Elgin’s son who was arch of the township’s advice systems technology department, was bedevilled to a year of supervised absolution afterwards additionally demography a appeal deal.
Ethel Shelton, Elgin’s secretary, and Alex Wheeler, administrator of the township’s Job Search Works, chose to go to balloon in April. The board acquitted Wheeler, but bedevilled Shelton of cabal to accomplish wire artifice and cabal to accomplish honest casework wire fraud.
Shelton’s motion for a mistrial is awaiting and is appointed for a audition in February.
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