Ex-Gaming Executive, Ex-Indiana Senator Criminal Scheme Concludes

Being in positions of trust, both defendants were facing some worrying possible outcomes, so deciding to bite the bullet and plead guilty was most likely the right move. The court was immovable in its conviction that such a scheme was impossible without express purpose to carry it out, so arguing otherwise was not only meaningless, but could’ve also been detrimental to their case.

Even Those Higher Up Get Convicted

According to information from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Darryl Brent Waltz – a former Indiana state senator has been sentenced to ten months in federal prison. His co-defendant John Keeler – a former vice president and general counsel of New Centaur LLC, was sentenced to two months in federal prison. The news comes after the criminal duo both pleaded guilty earlier in the year in the space of about a week separating the two pleas, and are now sentenced for “devising and participating in election finance schemes”, as the DOJ put it. Waltz pleaded guilty to receiving illegal contributions which Keeler has apparently helped disguise as deductible business expenses for the company.

The scheme used was both convoluted and yet easy to spot. Apparently, Kelley Rogers – a political consultant at that time – helped funnel north of $40,000 from the casino company to Waltz’s “Brent Waltz for Congress” campaign back in 2016 using multiple straw donors and sometimes even Waltz himself. According to DOJ’s release, court documents show that Keeler approved $41,000 of corporate funds to be paid to Rogers, with $25,000 directed towards a Marion County Republican political party committee, which Keeler later admitted to fraudulently describe as deductible expense in the company’s federal tax filing.

Along with federal jail time, U.S. District Chief Judge James R. Sweeney II also imposed a $40,500 fine to Waltz, as well as a two-year long period of probation following his release from federal prison. Keeler’s fine was larger, sitting at $55,000 but his probation period was set at one year.

It Took Almost Two Years

The April pleas were aimed not so much at confessing guilt, or were at least not made expressly with that in mind, but rather as part of plea deals. Waltz’s plea could’ve kept him out of prison, but didn’t, however his two months in federal prison are a much more preferable option to the maximum of ten years that could’ve gotten without his plea deal. Keeler’s plea was more aimed at reducing the number of charges, with five being dropped entirely, as part of his deal. As a result, Keeler was facing only up to three years in prison and was sentenced to ten months; a fine of up to $100,000 and was ordered a hair over half of that; and a maximum of one year of supervised probation, which he received in full. Not bad, considering that Waltz lied to the FBI and Keeler committed fraud against the IRS.

It all started back in 2020, when the criminal pair was indicted by the DOJ for what was an alleged scheme back then. It might’ve taken almost two years, but regardless of the positions of power of the parties involved, they did get punished. Special agent in charge Justin Campbell from the Chicago Field Office of IRS – Criminal Investigation, said that “The sentencing of these individuals proves there are consequences for the misuse of positions of trust within both the private and public sector,” further ascertaining that if you commit a crime, you will get punished. Whether the punishments are too severe of feel like a slap on the wrist, remains a question of personal predispositions.

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