Former Indiana State Senator, Ex-Casino Exec Jailed For Election Funding Scheme

  • Waltz pleaded guilty to receiving $40,500 in an illegal election finance scheme
  • Waltz must pay a $40,500 fine and serve two years of supervised release after jail
  • Ex-casino exec Keeler got two months in jail for his role in the finance scheme
  • A US Attorney described the scheme between the two men as “a serious crime”

 

Barbed wire over a prison
Both former Indiana Senator Brent Waltz and an ex-casino exec have been handed federal jail sentences for their roles in illegal election finance schemes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Waltz down for ten

Former Indiana state Senator Brent Waltz and ex-casino executive John Keeler have received federal prison sentences for devising and taking part in election finance schemes.

ten months in prison

On Wednesday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana (SDIN) announced that a judge sentenced 48-year-old Waltz to ten months in prison. The DOJ also shared the news via Twitter:

According to the DOJ, Waltz pleaded guilty in April 2022 to receiving $40,500 in illegal donations towards his failed bid for Congress. The ex-senator also entered a guilty plea for “lying and misleading FBI agents” who were sniffing out the illegal money trail.

US District Chief Judge James R. Sweeney II also ordered that, upon his release from jail, Waltz will be monitored for two years by the US Probation Office. He must also pony up $40,500 as a fine.

The feds tossed three charges against Waltz as part of his plea deal.

Keeler gets two

Keeler, 72 — ex-vice president and general counsel of Indiana casino and racetrack operator New Centaur LLC — was the source of the illegal donations. Judge Sweeney sentenced the Indianapolis native to two months in a federal jail after he pled guilty to causing the filing of a false tax return.

Keeler paid political consultant Kelley Rogers $41,000 from New Centaur funds

Court documents revealed that Keeler paid political consultant Kelley Rogers $41,000 from New Centaur funds. He then directed Rogers to funnel $25,000 of the cash into the 2015 Brent Waltz for Congress campaign via a number of straw donors and Waltz himself.

Federal election law forbids campaign donations made in someone else’s name, otherwise known as straw donors.

To further obscure the donation’s provenance, Keeler adapted New Centaur’s federal tax return. He filed this in a certain way “to falsely describe the $41,000 payment to Rogers as a deductible business expense.” 

Keeler also pleaded guilty in April 2022, a week after Waltz admitted his guilt.

Warnings issued

According to the DOJ press release published Wednesday, US Attorney for SDIN Zachary A. Myers said: “Secretly funneling illegal casino money into political campaigns is a serious crime and the criminals who do so will be held accountable.”

IRS, Criminal Investigation special agent in charge Justin Campbell deemed the prison terms just deserts for the pair. The sentencing, Campbell said, proved “there are consequences for the misuse of positions of trust within both the private and public sector.”