A career Lake County politician, who’s served three terms as coroner and two as county clerk, Philpot now faces prison and hefty fines.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated about three hours before reaching the guilty verdicts in the U.S. District Courtroom of Judge James Moody.
The jury found that Philpot took more than $24,000 in bonuses from the child support fund he supervised as county clerk. A state law forbids elected officials from enriching their salaries with supplemental pay. The government successfully argued that Philpot willfully committed the crimes, despite defense arguments that the state law was “obscure” and Philpot was unaware of it.Philpot becomes the second coroner this week to be forced from office after a felony conviction. Hancock Co. Coroner Tamara Vangundy is being forced from office after she pleaded guilty to official misconduct, along with drunk driving charges, arising after she was arrested by police for showing up drunk to a death investigation scene. Philpot based his defense on the fact that an attorney hired to represent his office by the county had advised him that taking the bonuses was legal. The attorney testified that he had given that advice to Philpot, but that Philpot had not provided him all of the relevant facts that would have led him to advise him not to take the bonus income.