Ex-Indiana legislator to plead guilty in casino corruption scam

Former Indiana Lawmaker to Plead Guilty to Federal Charge

A former Indiana lawmaker, Sean Eberhart, has reached an agreement to plead guilty to a federal charge accusing him of accepting promises of high-paying employment from a gaming company during his time in public office, federal prosecutors announced on Friday.

Eberhart, 57, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Eberhart, who represented central Indiana’s House District 57 as a Republican for 16 years before leaving office in November 2022, is accused of receiving compensation and assurances of future employment in exchange for favorable action in the General Assembly.

The charges stem from Eberhart’s involvement with a company called Spectacle Entertainment, which sought to purchase and relocate two casinos in Indiana. The purchases and relocations required approval from the state legislature and governor.

According to court documents, Eberhart used his position as a member of the House Committee on Public Policy to advocate for and vote in favor of legislation that benefited Spectacle, including the successful relocation approval, reducing transfer fees, and enacting tax incentives for the company. In exchange, Eberhart allegedly accepted the promise of future employment at Spectacle, with an annual compensation of at least $350,000.

Evidence obtained by investigators includes call records, digital images of documents, covert recordings of conversations with Eberhart, and audio and video recordings, among other records of his actions in the Indiana legislature.

The news of Eberhart’s alleged actions prompted Republican Speaker of the House Todd Huston to express disappointment and frustration, stating that such conduct runs counter to the core values of the assembly.

Spectacle Entertainment has been embroiled in federal investigations in the past. In 2022, longtime casino executive John Keeler and former Indiana state senator Brent Waltz were sentenced for their involvement in the illegal funneling of gambling money into a political campaign. Keeler was sentenced to two months in federal prison, and Spectacle was forced to divest from ownership of two casino projects following the indictments. Waltz was sentenced to 10 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

As of Friday, a plea hearing for Eberhart had not been scheduled, and his attorney declined to comment on the matter. Prosecutors did not respond to inquiries about whether Spectacle or other individuals associated with the company are also under investigation.