Former Indianapolis City-County Councilor Paul Bateman to plead guilty to federal charges in fraud

Men accused of defrauding $1.7M from investor

INDIANAPOLIS - A former Indianapolis City-County councilor will plead guilty to federal charges of using a charitable foundation to defraud an investor out of $1.7 million.

Paul Bateman, who will plead guilty to 13 counts of money laundering and fraud, was among three men charged in connection with alleged misappropriation of money by the Russell Foundation.

"This office is not intimated by who you are or how powerful you may be," said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett. "We care not what party you belong to or how many elections you may have won."

The organization, which listed its mission as trying to develop rail- and ethanol-related economic ventures that benefit minority workers and contractors, declared bankruptcy in 2008 after authorities said Bateman and partners Michael Russell and Manuel Gonzalez solicited money from the investor and then spent it on entertainment, clothes, jewelry, travel, vehicles and rent.

Last week, Russell pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of money laundering. He will serve a minimum of 57 months in prison.

Bateman will appear in court May 2.

Gonzalez, who faces three counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, is set to go to trial Feb. 11.

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