Former NW Indiana sheriff resentenced for bribery, fraud

A former northwestern Indiana sheriff has been resentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for accepting bribes from towing businesses.

Posted: Aug 6, 2020 2:20 PM

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A former northwestern Indiana sheriff has been resentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for accepting bribes from towing businesses.

A federal judge in Hammond sentenced John Buncich on Wednesday to 151 months — three years less than the former Lake County sheriff’s original sentence in 2017. The resentencing followed a partially successful appeal that still left Buncich with three felony convictions for bribery and fraud.

The former four-term sheriff was convicted in August 2017 on five counts of wire fraud and one count of bribery alleging that he was paid bribes in exchange for awarding lucrative towing work.

Buncich, 74, appeared in court Wednesday wearing an orange jump suit and having lost nearly 100 pounds during his last 30 months of imprisonment, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

His defense attorney, Kerry Connor, had asked that Buncich be released immediately and warned that anything longer “would be a life sentence for him.”

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Benson argued that Buncich’s weight loss and the medical care he's received in prison have left him in better medical condition than before his incarceration.

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