Two former Lake County lawmen face sentencing

2013-06-26T21:40:00Z 2013-06-27T09:21:07Z Two former Lake County lawmen face sentencingChelsea Schneider Kirk, (219) 933-3241

HAMMOND | Two former Lake County police officers are scheduled to face a federal judge Thursday for sentencing on public corruption charges.

Joseph Kumstar and Ronald Slusser, both of Crown Point, were indicted with a third former police officer, Edward Kabella, in 2011.

Federal prosecutors say the former officers used their positions on the Lake County Sheriff's Department to buy machine guns and laser sights – meant solely for the use of law enforcement or military officials.

The barrels of the guns and the laser sights were then sold for profit, court records show.

Kumstar pleaded guilty days after his indictment and is asking the court for a prison sentence of four years and three months, citing his “lack of criminal history, along with his immediate cooperation and acceptance of responsibility,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

Slusser in a lengthy sentencing memorandum filed June 20 by his attorney details the weapons purchases. According to the court document, letters were issued using Lake County Sheriff's Department letterhead, and allegedly signed by Kumstar, requesting machine guns or laser sights for demonstration purposes.

The defendants would then pay for the firearms or sights with their own funds, according to court records.

The memorandum notes Slusser obtained at least 27 of the laser sights by using letterhead of the Lowell Police Department, which he “acknowledges was obtained through fraudulent representation to the Lowell Police Chief.”

No specific date is noted in the memorandum for the purchases involving the Lowell letterhead. However, the indictment states all activity occurred between September 2008 and January 2010.

Kabella, of Crown Point, was sentenced to two years in prison in January for his part in the scheme, which his attorney said was minimal.

Slusser is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge James Moody at 9:30 a.m. Thursday followed by Kumstar's sentencing at 10.

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