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Lake Station Mayor, Wife, Stepdaughter Plead Not Guilty

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Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, along with his wife and stepdaughter, attended a plea hearing today in Hammond Federal Court where they all pleaded not guilty to corruption charges. On Wednesday, the US Attorney's Office in Hammond announced two indictments against Mayor Soderquist and his wife, Deborah.
Federal prosecutors allege the couple used money from the city's food pantry account and the mayor's campaign fund for personal expenses, including gambling activities at casinos in Indiana and Michigan. In relation to those charges, the couple is also accused of filing false income tax returns in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
A second federal indictment filed against the couple also names the mayor's stepdaughter, 33-year-old Miranda Brakley, a former employee of the city of Lake Station. Brakley is charged with theft of funds from the city and bankruptcy fraud.
The mayor and his wife are accused of being accessories after the fact, allegedly assisting Brakley to hinder and prevent her apprehension and punishment. The Soderquists are also accused in the second indictment of structuring a series of financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements under federal law.
All three surrendered to authorities this morning and were each released on a 20-thousand dollar bond.
Prosecutors report the charges will be split into two separate trials, but a date has yet been scheduled. The Defense reports the Mayor will continue with his duties.


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