Six people in northwest Indiana, including three council members, were indicted Thursday on federal charges resulting from an investigation by the Northern District of Indiana’s Public Corruption Task Force.
Those indicted include five current or former public officials accused of tax fraud, tax evasion and charges related to alleged kickbacks schemes and theft of public money.
Those charged are:
- Gary City Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas, 69, indicted on one count of tax evasion. According to a statement from David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District, Krusas failed to file tax returns since 1991 and allegedly committed a number of acts of evasion in connection with an inheritance of $230,000 she received in 2009-2010. Krusas pleaded not guilty Thursday and was released on $20,000 bond while surrendering her passport.
- East Chicago City Councilman and police officer Juda Parks, 40, was indicted on two counts of failure to file income tax returns for the tax years 2008 and 2009. Capp’s office said Parks signed an agreement in conjunction with the indictment, pleading guilty to all charges and agreeing to cooperate with the government.
- Hammond Second District Councilman Alfonso Salinas, 52, was charged with receipt of a bribe by an agent of a local government receiving federal funds. Salinas, using his allotment of funds derived from casino revenue received by the city of Hammond, accepted at least $10,500 from Dave’s Tree Service owner Dave Johnson to hire the company to work in the district that Salinas represented. Johnson, 56, of Munster, was charged with payment of a bribe to an agent of a local government receiving federal funds. Salinas is also charged with four counts of willful failure to file tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2009.
- Former Merillville Town Clerk Virlissa Crenshaw, 42, of East Chicago, was charged with theft from a local government entity and with filing a false tax return for the 2009 tax year. Crenshaw is accused of stealing cash bonds while working for the Merrillville Town Court. According to the Northern District attorney’s office, Crenshaw signed a plea agreement filed in conjunction with the indictment admitting her guilt to all charges. The loss to Merrillville is $176,763 and the federal tax loss is $55,203, the office said.
- Former East Chicago Public Library Director Manuel Montalvo, 38, was indicted on two counts of filing false tax returns for the tax years 2009 and 2010. Montalvo is accused of overstating unreimbursed business expenses and medical and dental expenses that he knew were substantially less than reported.
Capp said the indictments were the result of an ongoing multi-agency effort whose primary participants are the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police and the Internal Revenue Service.
“The Internal Revenue Service was the key agency driving these investigations,” Capp said. “We will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of public corruption and, where warranted, seek appropriate federal charges, including tax offenses.”
“Failure to file tax returns and the filing of false tax returns by public officials will not be tolerated. Those who disobey the tax laws will be held accountable," IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber said in a statement.