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U.S. Attorney announces new charges in Land Bank plot

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A former city employee already charged in a fraud scheme involving the Indy Land Bank faces a new indictment handed down Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The latest indictment charges Reginald T. Walton with wire fraud for his alleged role in a scheme involving the land bank and a city mowing contract with Mark Harsley. Harsley, who previously had not been charged in the land bank scheme, also is charged with wire fraud.

The two men began their alleged scheme in February, when Walton allegedly began soliciting financial kickbacks from Hartley in exchange for landing Hartley a city contract to mow lawns of properties owned by the land bank, according to the indictment.

At the time, Walton ran the land bank program as an assistant administrator of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development.

The indictment said Harsley began submitting invoices in the summer and collecting payment as operator of Core Contracting LLC. The one-year contract capped the amount he could receive at about $40,000. Walton, however, received none of the money, according to the indictment.

The land bank acquires abandoned and tax-delinquent properties throughout the city to sell to both not-for-profit and for-profit developers.

“This is really part of the land bank deal because Reggie Walton ran the land bank,” said Bradley A. Blackington, lead prosecutor in the case, at the Thursday announcement. “It’s directly the same investigation into the land bank.”

The new charges against the two follow the May indictment of Walton and four others, including John Hawkins, who was the DMD’s senior project manager.

Hawkins has agreed to plead guilty, though a judge has yet to grant his request. A trial has been set for Feb. 24, but it could be continued because one of the defendants has filed for a continuance.

The other defendants are David Johnson, executive director of the Indiana Minority AIDS Coalition; Randall Sargent, owner and president of New Day Residential Development; and Aaron Reed, a friend of Walton.

Before Thursday’s charges, the indictment against the five contained 11 counts of wire fraud, in addition to bribery and conspiracy related to the alleged real estate scam that fleeced its victims.

The case was developed by a public corruption task force that includes representatives from the FBI, Indiana State Police and U.S. Attorney's Office. The probe, which included the use of a wire tap and an undercover FBI agent, led to a May raid of the City-County Building offices of the Indy Land Bank.



 
 

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  1. I still don't understand how the FBI had any right whatsoever to investigate this elderly collector. Before the Antiquities Act it was completely legal to buy, trade or collect Native American artifacts. I used to see arrow heads, axes, bowls, corn grinders at antique shops and flea markets for sale and I bought them myself. But that was in the late 60's and early 70's. And I now know that people used to steal items from sites and sell them. I understand that is illegal. But we used to find arrow heads and even a corn grinder in our back yard when I was a child. And I still have those items today in my small collection.

  2. I lived in California and they had many of the things noted in the proposed suggestions from the "Blue Ribbon Panel". California is near financial collapse now. Let's not turn the great state of Indiana into a third world dump like California.

  3. The temporary closure of BR Avenue will get a lot of attention. But, one thing reported by the IndyStar really stands out to me, and is extraordinarily depressing: “Police also have agreed to crack down on noise violations, traffic violations and public intoxication.” In other words, the police have generously agreed to do their jobs (temporarily, at least), instead of just standing around waiting for someone to call 911. When is someone in this department going to get off their fat arse (looking at you, Chief), get their minds out of 1975-era policing and into 2014, and have his department engage in pro-active work instead of sitting around waiting for someone to be shot? Why in the hell does it take 7 people getting shot in one night in one of the city’s biggest tourist destinations, to convince the police (reluctantly, it would appear) that they actually need to do their f’n jobs? When is the Chief going to realize that there’s a huge, direct, proven correlation between enforcing the law (yes, all laws, especially those affecting quality of life) and preventing larger crimes from occurring? Is it racial BS? Is that what this extraordinary reluctance is all about? Is the department and the city terrified that if they do their jobs, they might offend someone? Whom, exactly? Will the victims of violence, murder, assault, rape, robbery, and theft be offended? Will the citizens who have to tolerate their deteriorating quality of life be offended? Will the businesses who see their customers flee be offended? Or, is it simple ignorance (maybe the Chief hasn’t heard about NYC’s success in fighting crime - it’s only the biggest g*&#am city in the country, after all)? Either way, Chief, if you don’t want to do your job, then step down. Let someone who actually wants the job take it.

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  5. I was a fan of WIBC in the morning, Steve was the only WIBC host that I listened too, he gave the news with so much flare that I enjoyed listening to him on my way to work. Katz is no Steve. Sadly, I will not be listening to WIBC anymore.

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