Hogsett Announces Bribery Charges Against Former Marion County Chief Deputy Prosecutor
Defendant Allegedly Accepted Campaign Contribution as a Reward for Sentence Modification
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 13, 2013|
INDIANAPOLIS—United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced today that formal federal bribery charges have been filed against David Wyser, age 53, who is currently a resident of Hamilton County. Hogsett also announced that Wyser has filed a formal petition to enter a plea of guilty to these charges and as part of that agreement will fully cooperate with federal investigators.
“For the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners, announcements such as this are about one thing and one thing only: upholding the rule of law,” Hogsett said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what personal politics you may hold. If you violate the public’s trust, we will hold you fully accountable.”
“Public corruption is the FBI criminal program’s top priority because it poses a fundamental threat to our judicial system and the pursuit of justice,” added FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones.
From 2005 until 2010, Wyser served as the chief deputy prosecuting attorney of the Marion County’s Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, Wyser was a candidate for public office from 2007 until 2010, as he sought to be elected prosecuting attorney for Hamilton County.
The charging document alleges that on May 29, 2009, in his capacity as Marion County Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Wyser had a discussion with a defense lawyer who represented a prisoner serving a 70-year sentence for murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Under Indiana law, this prisoner could not seek a modification or reduction of a sentence without the approval of the county prosecutor’s office. According to the charging document, Wyser and the prisoner’s attorney discussed the topic of Wyser receiving a campaign contribution from the prisoner’s father.
The charging document alleges that the same day this discussion took place, the father of the prisoner wrote a $2,500 check to the Committee to Elect David Wyser. On June 22, 2009, that check was deposited into the bank account of the Committee to Elect David Wyser. On June 23, 2009, an agreement to modify the prisoner’s sentence, signed by David Wyser, was filed with the Marion County Superior Court and was granted. The charging document alleges that this campaign contribution was provided to Wyser as a reward for his sentence modification recommendation.
Hogsett said this case was the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is an active partner in the U.S. Attorney’s Public Integrity Working Group. Launched in April 2012, the Working Group represents an unprecedented effort to aggressively investigate and prosecute fraud, waste, and abuse by public officials in Indiana. Hoosiers with information on public corruption are encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (317) 229-2443.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys James M. Warden and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case for the government, federal bribery charges can result in up to 10 years in prison and significant fines. Wyser’s petition to enter a plea of guilty must be accepted by the court and that change-of-plea hearing has yet to be scheduled.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.