Former Merrillville councilman gets 15 months for bribery

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a former northwest Indiana town councilman to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to bribery for his role in an influence-buying scheme for towing contracts.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II announced the sentencing of Thomas Goralczyk on Tuesday.

The 51-year-old Goralczyk entered a plea agreement in January admitting he accepted two vehicles from a witness cooperating with the FBI on the promise he would use his influence as a Merrillville councilman to steer a towing contract to the informant's towing company.

Goralczyk has forfeited $7,500 to the federal government.

He was first elected as a councilman in 2007 and served as president of the council in 2011 and 2015. He lost a re-election bid in 2015.

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