Northwest Indiana sheriff, mayor indicted in alleged bribery scheme

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HAMMOND, Ind. -- The sheriff of Lake County, Ind., along with his top deputy and a mayor have been indicted on charges of collecting bribes for contracts for towing and other services.

The indictments announced Friday name Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, Chief Deputy Tim Downs, Portage Mayor James Snyder and tow company owners William Szarmach of Lake Station and John Cortina of Portage.

The FBI raided Buncich's offices in Crown Point, Ind. last week.

Prosecutors say Buncich received over $25,000 in cash and $7,000 in checks from Szarmach and an unnamed individual for towing contracts in Gary and Lake County.

Snyder is accused of receiving $12,000 from Cortina and the same unnamed individual for towing contracts in Portage. He's also charged with receiving $13,000 for other city contracts or projects.

Snyder is expected to turn himself in to authorities Friday afternoon. Neither Snyder or Buncich have commented on the indictments.


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