|Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist (D)|
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana announced an 11-count indictment today against Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist (D) and his wife, Deborah, accusing the couple of using at least $104,000 in campaign funds and money from the city's food pantry for personal use, including money spent gambling at casinos in Indiana and Michigan. A second complaint against the couple alleges they became accessories after the fact by aiding Mayor Soderquist's step-daughter, Miranda Brakley, in the theft of $5,000 from the Lake Station City Court. The Gary Post-Tribune has more:
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, a conspiracy between Keith and Deborah Soderquist to commit wire fraud in connection with financial transactions involving the Mayor’s campaign finance account and the Lake Station Food Pantry account. These accounts were allegedly used by the Soderquists to obtain cash for personal expenses, including gambling activities at casinos in Indiana and Michigan.
The indictment also charges both Keith and Deborah Soderquist with filing false tax returns for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to the release.
The second indictment names Keith Soderquist, 44, Deborah Soderquist, 55, and Miranda Brakley, 33, a former employee of Lake Station. Brakley is charged with theft of funds from Lake Station from Aug. 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012. Brakley is also charged with bankruptcy fraud for failing to disclose certain payments received from Lake Station on her bankruptcy schedules, the press release said.
Keith and Deborah Soderquist are charged in the second indictment for being accessories after the fact. The last count alleges that Keith and Deborah Soderquist structured a series of financial transactions in order to avoid the reporting requirements under federal law, the press relase said. The indictment alleges that in December 2012, the Soderquists obtained $15,000 from an individual. They instructed that individual to write three checks in amounts less than $10,000 (the reporting requirement under federal law) and to back date two of those checks. From Dec. 8-12, 2012, those checks were cashed at different branches of JP Morgan Chase bank, the press release said.U.S. Attorney David Capp's press release indicated that today's indictments involved the joint efforts of the FBI, IRS and Indiana State Police. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Kolar and Philip Benson according to Capps. Former Gary Mayor Scott King has been retained to represent Soderquist.