Capp says the indictment alleges that Van til, beginning in or about November 2007 and continuing through December 2012, devised a scheme to defraud Lake County of money and property by utilizing county employees to perform personal services and political services so that Van Til would be re-electd as Lake County Surveyor.
The indictment also alleges that Van Til directed an employee to remove a hard drive from a Lake County computer and to replace it with another hard drive, according to attorney Capp. The indictment further alleges that Van Til told that same employee "And by the way, if by some chance down the line there's ever a conversation, we never had these conversations." Van Til's alleged conduct with respect to this particular employee forms the basis for the two obstruction of justice counts.
Attorney Capp says the investigation into the allegations came about through a tip from a citizen.
Two other indictments were announced this afternoon in Hammond Federal Court, which Attorney Capp stresses are unrelated except for the fact they all involve some aspect of public corruption or public funds. One indictment charges a Pennsylvania owner and operator of an armament company located in Philadelphia with nine counts. Capp says the indictment alleges that the owner conspired with two former Lake County Sheriff deputies to make false statements concerning the acquisition of firearms. Capp says both former deputies were indicted for this conduct in September 2010 and both have since plead guilty, are awaiting sentencing and cooperating with the United States Attorney's Office.
The third indictment announced this afternoon charges Roman Perez, 41, of Crown Point, with one count of making false statements under oath on a tax return and one count of making a false statement in a bankruptcy proceeding. The indictment alleges that Perez understated his total taxable income for 2007 by approximately $110,108.00, of which approximately $80,000 constituted payments from both the Treasurer of Lake County and the Lake County Sheriff's Commissary Fund, to Roman Art Inc., a graphic design business owned and operated by Perez; and that Perez understated his gross income for the year 2009 by an amount in excess of $40,000 in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The United States Attorney's Office will today file a plea agreement wherein Perez has agreed to plead guilty to these charges and will cooperate with the United States Attorney's Office.
The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
U.S. Attorney David Capp at todays press conference at the federal Courthouse in Hammond.