Former Republican senator Brent Waltz pled guilty on Monday to accepting $40,000 in illegal contributions by a casino company back in 2016. The money was extended to the senator to support his 2016 congressional campaign which ended up with Waltz defeated. Waltz decided to plead guilty ahead of a trial that he was going to attend with co-defendant John Keeler, a former Spectacle Entertainment executive. Keeler is facing the same charges of contributing illegally to the senator’s campaign, which was investigated by authorities.
Hiring Extra Hands to Help Hide the Contributions
However, Waltz has made no mention of Keeler in his guilty plea and the senator, as well as his attorney, have preferred to keep silent on the matter. Keeler, though, is ready to defend himself and has chosen to plead not guilty with the trial now due next week. Both Keeler and Waltz were indicted following a detailed investigation by the FBI which looked into both men.
The contributions towards Waltz’s campaign were carefully orchestrated with Keeler and another executive hiring a number of people to make $2,700 contributions to the senator’s uneventful campaign in a bid to avoid detection.
The probe led to Spectacle Entertainment losing its ownership of its new casinos in Terre Haute and Gary, a blow to its operability and competitiveness. The Indiana Gaming Commission also targeted another ex-Spectacle Entertainment employee, chief executive Rod Ratcliff, who had to turn in his casino license and exit Indiana without any immediate outlook to return.
Waltz Hopes to Avoid a Harsh Punishment
Waltz’s guilty plea is predicated on a desire to stay clear of prison, a real possibility given that each of the charges he faces could fetch him up to five years behind bars. However, prosecutors have agreed to not seek a harsh sentence against him, which could be instead directed at Keeler.
Both Keeler and Ratcliff have very poor chances to go back into the gambling industry after the indictment. Keeler still needs to fight through the accusations levied against him while Waltz is awaiting the sentencing date.