Gambling problems are real and addiction can turn people into something they are not. The former mayor of Whiting, Indiana, Joseph Stahura, never admitted he was an addict. However, he misappropriated more than $250,000 in campaign funds for casino trips and other expenses. He had a fair chance of facing jail time but the judge thought otherwise.
Stahura resigned as the mayor last August. He allegedly took $255,000 in campaign contribution. He went to visit out of the state to visit casinos, pay bills, and credit cards claimed allegations. He was however tracked down through ATM withdrawals. Stahura reportedly made around 50 trips to casinos between March 2014 to October 2019. As per the ATM Withdrawals, he spent around $55,000.
He was found guilty of wire fraud and filing a false tax return. He was potentially facing 23 years of jail time. However, James T, the judge said the case for Stahura is strong. Stahura’s lawyer prepared a case for leniency siting not so serious games.
The lawyer argued the conduct of a former politician was wrong but not illegal. He argued that this conduct did not impact the role of mayor for him.
Considering his remorse, Judge Moody sent him to two years of probation along with one year of home detention and a fine of $75000. Stauhura’s wife was also let off with a warning and will escape being charged till she complies with the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement.
Indiana has previously seen similar cases. John Keeler, a former State Representative became VP and General Counsel for Spectacular Entertainment was indicted by jury for violating campaign fund laws.