Former Indianapolis and Marion County, Ind., City-County Councilman Lincoln Plowman has been charged with attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer for the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison of the Southern District of Indiana.It is important to note this case is being prosecuted by the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department based in Washington. This case did not originate locally. Similarly, the criminal investigation of former Perry Township Constable Roy Houchins and other personnel of his office was handled by the Public Integrity Section. Houchins died suddenly in April, 2010 a few days before he was scheduled to go on trial.
The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that between Aug. 11, 2009, and Dec. 22, 2009, while a member of the City-County Council, Plowman solicited an undercover FBI agent to pay $5,000 in cash and to make a $1,000 campaign contribution for Plowman’s benefit. In exchange for the payments, Plowman allegedly would use his official actions and influence to facilitate the opening of a strip club in Indianapolis. According to the indictment, Plowman was a member of the Metropolitan Development Committee of the City-County Council. He was also a major with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Plowman faces a maximum penalty on the extortion charge of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He faces a maximum penalty on the bribery charge of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Indiana.
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe H. Vaughn. The case is being investigated by the FBI.
UPDATE: Mayor Greg Ballard released this statement in response to Plowman's indictment:
Earlier this year, IMPD’s Professional Standards Division investigated former Officer Lincoln Plowman on concerns of wrongdoing. Shortly before the conclusion of that investigation, Mr. Plowman resigned from IMPD and retired from the City-County Council. Though Mr. Plowman is due his day in court, today's announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office supports IMPD's concerns. Furthermore, we hold all of our public, elected officials to the highest standards and expect them to conduct themselves with integrity in a manner in which they never abuse their power or influence.”I should point out IMPD's Professional Standards Division did not investigate Plowman until it already knew about the FBI sting operation against him. There were also concerns about Plowman's past that should have caused enough concern with former Public Safety Director Scott Newman and Ballard before they decided to promote him and put him in charge of the Investigations Division of IMPD during an earlier reorganization of the police department. The corruption in this administration doesn't start and stop with Plowman. I hope the outside investigation by the Public Integrity Section roots out all of the corruption in our City-County government.
UPDATE II: Fox59 News' Russ McQuaid is reporting this evening that one of Plowman's own informants at the police department where he was the second in command of vice investigations ratted him out to federal investigators and led to the sting operation against him. There may be more to this story. Stay tuned.