A Casino Executive and a Former Senator Plead Guilty to Felonies

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Two Indiana men plead guilty this week to federal crimes for their roles in paying and receiving secret political contributions through a middleman.

On April 18, 2022, a former Indianapolis-based casino executive 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. Additionally, a 2016 candidate for U.S. Congress, charged in the same indictment, pleaded guilty last week to making and receiving illegal conduit contributions through sham donors and making false statements to the FBI.

According to court documents, 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. Keeler then caused New Centaur to falsely report the political contribution to the IRS as a deductible business expense.

In addition, Darryl Brent Waltz, 48, of Greenwood, a former Indiana State Senator and 2016 candidate for U.S. Congress, pleaded guilty last week to funneling $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.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. Waltz faces up to 10 years in prison and Keeler faces up to three years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the cases.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Assistant Director in Charge Steven D’Antuono of the of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell of IRS-Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office made the announcement.

Trial Attorneys William J. Gullotta and John P. Taddei of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel Bradley P. Shepard for the Southern District of Indiana are prosecuting the cases.

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