HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — Former Lake County Sheriff John Buncich was sentenced to 15 years, 8 months in prison for taking bribes from towing companies.

Federal prosecutors said 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.

The former sheriff was immediately taken into custody, though his attorney says he’ll appeal.

buncich1 e1503597322414 Former Lake County Sheriff John Buncich Sentenced To 15 Years, 8 Months

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

Buncich told U.S. District Judge James Moody Tuesday was “the darkest day” of his life. “I feel remorse for those I have hurt or let down,” he said, but offered no apology for wrongdoing.

The 72-year-old 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.

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


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.

As a result of the conviction, Buncich was immediately removed as Sheriff.

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

Buncich also has to pay a $250,000 fine.