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Lake Station Mayor, Wife Indicted

LAKE STATION, Ind. (STMW) -- Lake Station, Ind. Mayor Keith Soderquist and his wife, Deborah, were indicted Wednesday on public corruption charges, the Post-Tribune is reporting.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office, a conspiracy between Keith and Deborah Soderquist to commit wire fraud in connection with financial transactions involving the Mayor's campaign finance account and the Lake Station Food Pantry account. These accounts were allegedly used by the Soderquists to obtain cash for personal expenses, including gambling activities at casinos in Indiana and Michigan.

The indictment also charges both Keith and Deborah Soderquist with filing false tax returns for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to the release.

The second indictment names Keith Soderquist, 44, Deborah Soderquist, 55, and Miranda Brakley, 33, a former employee of Lake Station. Brakley is charged with theft of funds from Lake Station from Aug. 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012. Brakley is also charged with bankruptcy fraud for failing to disclose certain payments received from Lake Station on her bankruptcy schedules, the press release said.

Keith and Deborah Soderquist are charged in the second indictment for being accessories after the fact. The last count alleges that Keith and Deborah Soderquist structured a series of financial transactions in order to avoid the reporting requirements under federal law, the press relase said. The indictment alleges that in December 2012, the Soderquists obtained $15,000 from an individual. They instructed that individual to write three checks in amounts less than $10,000 (the reporting requirement under federal law) and to back date two of those checks. From Dec. 8-12, 2012, those checks were cashed at different branches of JP Morgan Chase bank, the press release said.

United States Attorney David Capp stated, "These indictments are part of this office's ongoing public corruption investigation," said U.S. Attorney David Capp. "Today's indictments were the result of an extensive investigative effort by the FBI, IRS and ISP. This investigative team will continue to investigate allegations of abuse of the public trust."

The Soderquists and Brakley are expected to surrender to authorities at the Hammond federal courthouse Thursday, the release said.

This case is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Indiana State Police. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Kolar and Philip Benson.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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