Crime Watch 8

Casino exec pleads guilty to secretly funneling money to GOP

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A former casino executive has pleaded guilty to causing false statements on the casino’s corporate tax return by concealing contributions to a local political party as deductible business expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

John Keeler, 72, of Indianapolis, former vice president and general counsel of gaming company New Centaur LLC, funneled $41,000 in New Centaur corporate funds to Maryland-based political consultant Kelley Rogers and an entity under his control for the purpose of contributing the funds to the Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee to benefit the Marion County Republican Central Committee, according to the Justice Department. Keeler then caused New Centaur to falsely report the political contribution to the IRS as a deductible business expense.

Keeler’s trial had been set to start Monday. Keeler had been part of a failed effort to bring a casino to Terre Haute.

Former Indiana state Sen. Brent Waltz last week pleaded guilty in the case. The Justice Department says Waltz, 48, of Greenwood, funneled $40,500 in illegal conduit contributions to his 2016 congressional campaign. Waltz and Rogers directed corporate funds from New Centaur into the Brent Waltz for Congress campaign through several straw contributors and through Waltz himself. Waltz also lied to and misled federal authorities who were investigating the illegal contributions.

Waltz faces up to 10 years in prison and Keeler faces up to three years in prison. Sentencing dates have not been set, according to a news release from the Justice Department.