HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) – A former northwestern Indiana sheriff has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from towing businesses.
A federal judge ordered the roughly 15 ½-year sentence Tuesday for John Buncich. He was removed from office as Lake County sheriff after a jury convicted him in August of bribery and wire fraud charges.
Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of at least 15 years, arguing that Buncich committed “a calculated abuse of power” to enrich himself.
Buncich has denied any wrongdoing and his attorney maintains he was doing legitimate campaign fundraising.
Buncich is a Democrat who was elected in 2015 to his fourth term as sheriff of Indiana’s second most-populous county.
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