IBJNews

Indiana mayor pleads not guilty to fraud charges

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A northwestern Indiana mayor pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges that he and his wife took more than $18,000 from his campaign account at the same time they had big casino gambling losses.

Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, his wife Deborah Soderquist, and stepdaughter entered the pleas during a federal court hearing a day after prosecutors announced grand jury indictments charging them with wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

Defense attorney Scott King said Soderquist, a Democrat, might be responsible for sloppy reporting of campaign finances, but that he and his wife did nothing illegal.

"Every penny they ever received from the campaign fund was reimbursement for expenses they had personally incurred on behalf of the campaign. Therefore, there is no act of fraud," King told reporters after Thursday's court hearing.

The indictment charges the couple made numerous withdrawals between spring 2010 and late 2012 at the same time that they lost $104,000 at area casinos.

Another charge is that they cashed a $300 check from the city that was intended for the Lake Station Food Pantry. About two hours after the check was cashed in July 2011, both were gambling at a New Buffalo, Mich., casino, according to the indictment.

King, a former Gary mayor, said his client did nothing wrong, and criticized prosecutors for trying to tie bank transactions with a later trip to a casino. Keith Soderquist will continue serving as mayor while he contests the charges, King said.

"Quite candidly, so what? What is that proving?" King said.

Soderquist was first elected mayor of the 13,000-person city just east of Gary in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012. Deborah Soderquist is her husband's mayoral administrative assistant and has been treasurer of his campaign committee.

They are also charged with helping the mayor's stepdaughter hide the theft of at least $5,000 from the Lake Station City Court.

The couple surrendered to federal authorities Thursday, and appeared in handcuffs in court before being released on $40,000 bonds.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Nice Try
    Nice try, Preston. Republicans and Libertarians hold their elected representatives to a higher standard than do Democrats. While corruption does occurs at both ends, it is much more prevalent by Democrats holding office and has been for years.
  • Left wing vs Right wing...
    Corruption knows no ideological boundaries. I don't care if it is a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian or anyone else. When you steal funds, or are accused of stealing funds, that did not come from you (hence, campain finance funds from DONORS), it's theft, pure and simple. Having worked on issues such as this for many years, trust me, the authorities ensure that all of their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed prior to making anything public...
    • (D)
      Where are all the usual responses from all the left wing posters about corruption and fraud in this state. It surely doesn't have any thing to do with that (D) next to the mayor's name...

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

    2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

    3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

    4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

    5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

    ADVERTISEMENT