Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Details On Bateman Indictment

The U.S. Attorney's Office held a press conference this morning and released a statement offering more details on the indictment of City-County Councilor Paul Bateman and two associates for wire fraud and money laundering charges related to their management of the Russell Foundation. According to the press release, five checks totaling $702,000 over a several month period in 2007 were deposited in Bateman's personal bank account and spent on purposes other than what it should have been spent. The Russell Foundation defrauded its chief benefactor, an elderly physician, by claiming that money he gave to the foundation would be invested in an ethanol production company. Instead, Bateman deposited the money into his personal bank account and spent on things other than production and distribution of ethanol.

Bateman, Michael Russell and Manuel Gonzalez are further accused of soliciting a $1 million corporate bond from the victim, which the defendants promptly spent over a 33-day period on some of the following items:
  • $74,000 in custom made clothing for foundation members and associates
  • 10 vehicles costing more than $265,000 for foundation members and associates
  • Payment of Bateman's personal income tax liability
  • Payment of Russell's rent
  • Various personal expenses, including trips
The press release claims the foundation relied on Bateman's elected position as a city councilor and an unnamed high-ranking IMPD police officer "to provide the appearance of credibility, respectability, and legitimacy to their activities" as part of their "elaborate fraud scheme." U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett declined to name the high-ranking police officer or indicate if the officer or others may be indicted as the case proceeds.

UPDATE: The elderly physician who Bateman, et al. allegedly defrauded, was not named in the indictment, but the Star today identifies him as Arthur Sumrall, who runs the Longevity Institute of Indiana on the city's northside:

The doctor, Arthur Sumrall, who is in his 70s and runs the Longevity Institute of Indiana on the Far Northside, did not return phone calls Wednesday. The institute provides skin care, weight loss and nutrition programs to customers, according to its website. It offers acupuncture, organic facials, laser hair removals, waxings and deep tissue massages.


Downtown Indy said...

I find it astounding that Batement was on the city council Ethics Committee.

I wonder if Jackie Nytes has anything more to say about this:

"Fellow councilor and Democrat Jackie Nytes spoke on Bateman's behalf Thursday.

"I think he should stay on the committee. He hasn't been charged with anything. He's convinced me he hasn't any complicity in the missing money," she told 6News' Jack Rinehart."

Gary R. Welsh said...

It speaks volumes about her judgment, doesn't it?