WHITING, Ind. (WISH) — A northwestern Indiana mayor has entered into an agreement to plead guilty to wire and tax fraud, according to the Department of Justice.
According to the department, the mayor of Whiting, Indiana, 64-year-old Joseph Stahura and his wife used campaign funds for personal expenditures such as gambling, credit card debt and providing financial support to an adult daughter.
Stahura and his wife, from February 2014 through 2019, spent about $225,000 of campaign funds for those personal purposes. Additionally, Stahura also filed campaign reports with false and misleading info, according to the Department of Justice. In April 2019, Stahura filed a false tax return and incorrectly listed his gross income, not listing the more than $51,000 he stole from the campaign account in 2018.
“Today’s charges and guilty plea are another black eye for Northwest Indiana,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II in a statement. “Mr. Stahura, an elected official for over 35 years, illegally used his campaign funds for personal activities and expenditures and lied about it on his publically (sic) filed campaign reports and tax returns. He knew his conduct was illegal, yet he persisted in it for over 5 years.”
Stahura has been the mayor Whiting since 2004 and prior to being mayor was a Whiting city councilman for 20 years.