Valpo entrepreneur in Cook County custody on fugitive warrant

2013-02-14T20:15:00Z 2013-02-15T09:39:03Z Valpo entrepreneur in Cook County custody on fugitive warrantSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
February 14, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Web marketing entrepreneur Johnny Mathis is in the Cook County Jail awaiting extradition to LaPorte County, authorities confirmed Thursday.

Mathis is the founder of a Valparaiso web-based firm called Livemercial, which once claimed $1 billion in sales.

According to Cook County Sheriff's Department records, Chicago police arrested Mathis, 40, on Tuesday in connection with an active warrant out of Indiana.

Mathis appeared before Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Wednesday, at which time Mathis agreed to be extradited, court records show.

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department confirmed an active warrant against Mathis, although it had not received word of its execution Thursday.

LaPorte County court records show prosecutors had filed a felony domestic battery case against Mathis on Jan. 29 with the court setting a bond of $6,500 surety, or $7,500 cash. A warrant was issued Jan. 31.

According to court records, the arrest stemmed from a Jan. 21 dispute between Mathis and Lisa Mathis, who was picking up the couple's two children for visitation.

Johnny Mathis is alleged to have shoved Lisa Mathis several times during an argument in the presence of their 9-year-old daughter in his LaCrosse home.

Johnny Mathis' attorney on the case, Maria Pedulla-Lake, of Michigan City, did not return a call Thursday for comment.   

Lake County prosecutors in September 2012 closed the books on a 2007 case in which Mathis was charged with felony theft, felony mail fraud and misdemeanor deception in connection with $1.3 million in gambling debts he had accrued at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

Mathis never pleaded guilty to the charges but agreed to pay $825,000 in restitution to the casino in regular payments. Restitution is more typically ordered after an admission of guilt.

Court records show Mathis made a last restitution payment of $60,000 to Horseshoe last April.

Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. granted the state's motion to dismiss the charges and canceled all future hearing dates.

The dismissal came almost a year to the day after Mathis incurred Stefaniak's wrath for taking a tropical vacation in violation of his bond. Stefaniak detained the businessman in the county's work release program for two weeks. Mathis was ordered to work two hours a day at the county's animal control facility.

Times correspondent Stan Maddux contributed to this report.

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