INDIANAPOLIS – Acting United States Attorney John Childress and Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Indiana returned an indictment charging a former Indiana state senator and gaming executive with violations of federal campaign finance laws, false statements, and falsification of records, for making illegal corporate contributions and conduit contributions to fund the congressional campaign of the former state politician.
Darryl Brent Waltz, 47, of Greenwood, Indiana, was charged with one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions, false statements and to obstruct justice, one count of making and receiving conduit contributions, one count of obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements related to a scheme to route contributions through conduit donors to his 2016 congressional campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance law.
John S. Keeler, 71, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was charged with one count of conspiracy to make illegal corporate contributions, false statements and to obstruct justice, one count of making illegal corporate contributions, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of making false statements related to a scheme to make corporate contributions to Waltz’s 2016 congressional campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance law.
According to the indictment, Waltz, a former Indiana state senator, was a candidate in the 2016 primary election for the office of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Ninth District of Indiana. Keeler, the vice president and general counsel of what was then known as New Centaur, LLC arranged with Kelley Rogers, a Maryland-based political consultant for the 2016 Waltz congressional campaign, to cause New Centaur, LLC to transfer thousands of dollars from its accounts to Rogers, who then contributed that money to Waltz’s 2016 congressional campaign.
To conceal the true nature of the payments as illegal corporate contributions, Keeler and Rogers agreed that Rogers would create phony invoices and agreements that purported to reflect services to be performed for New Centaur, LLC, by Rogers. Upon receiving the payments from New Centaur, LLC, Rogers recruited several straw donors, including Waltz, to each contribute $2,700 to Waltz’s campaign, the maximum permitted under federal law at the time. The straw donors were reimbursed by Rogers using the money from New Centaur, LLC.
Rogers also transferred a large portion of the New Centaur, LLC money to Waltz, who recruited additional straw donors to each donate $2,700 to his campaign. Waltz either reimbursed or paid these straw donors in advance. Waltz and Keeler concealed these illegal contributions from campaign officials, causing them to unwittingly file materially false reports with the Federal Election Commission.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. It merely alleges that crimes have been committed. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys William Gullotta and John Taddei of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Brad Shepard and MaryAnn Mindrum of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.