September 30, 2016 1:00 AM
Ex-mayor, wife sentenced in gambling plot
HAMMOND – The former mayor of Lake Station will serve four years in prison and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines for using campaign money and city food pantry funds to gamble.
Keith Soderquist’s wife, Deborah Soderquist, was also sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hammond on Wednesday. The judge ordered her to serve two years in prison. The Soderquists must also pay over $26,000 in restitution to Lake Station and the IRS.
A jury found the couple guilty last September of using $35,304.25 from the former mayor’s campaign and $5,040 from the city’s food pantry on dozens of gambling trips to Michigan. Federal authorities said the Soderquists lost more than $100,000 from 2009 to 2012.
Keith Soderquist also pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping his stepdaughter, Miranda Brakely, hide thousands of dollars she stole from the city during her time as a court clerk. Brakely was sentenced to six months of home detention.
According to court documents Soderquist also admitted this summer to recording and listening to thousands of phone calls city hall employees made since 2011. Soderquist was not charged with the wiretapping however it was considered during sentencing documents said.
The defense for the couple asked that the medical issues that the Soderquists require treatment for be taken into consideration before serving their sentences. Keith Soderquist is scheduled to have neck surgery on Oct. 13, according to defense attorney Scott King.
Deborah Soderquist asked for her hearing to be pushed back due to her CT scan scheduled the day after her sentencing. She has suffered from a variety of medical ailments since her 20s.
Judge Rudy Lozano said Deborah Soderquist will serve her sentence in a prison with a medical facility.
The couple made brief statements to the court prior to being sentenced.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to my wife, my two daughters, my family, my friends and to all those who had to endure this process. I am sorry,” Keith Soderquist said.
Deborah Soderquist followed her husband and said, “I would just like to apologize to everyone that was affected by my actions.”
The couple will both begin their sentences on Nov. 14.