Lake County Sheriff John Buncich Guilty In Bribery Trial

HAMMOND, Ind. — Lake County Sheriff John Buncich was found guilty in his federal bribery trial on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors had alleged Buncich schemed to award towing business in Lake County, Ind., and the city of Gary to CSA Towing in Lake Station, in exchange for bribes to Buncich.

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Lake County sheriff John Buncich leaves federal court after being found guilty in his bribery trial. (Credit: Michael Puente/WBEZ)

Buncich was accused of receiving more than $25,000 in cash and $7,000 in checks for directing towing business to CSA and another unnamed towing business.

Buncich was charged with wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and bribery. He testified on his own behalf during the trial and he was convicted on all counts.

Sentencing has been set for Dec. 6.

As a result of the conviction, Buncich is immediately out as Sheriff.

Current Chief of Police Matt Eaton will take over on an interim bases.

Within the next 30 days, the Lake County Democratic Party will call a caucus to select a replacment to fill out Buncich’s term, which runs through 2018.

The primary election for a new sheriff is set for May, 2018.

In a surveillance video shown in court, a government informant was shown handing over $7,500 in cash to Buncich.

On the stand, Buncich denied that had anything to do with whether the tow company contributor, Scott Jurgensen, would get tow business.

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