When U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody sentenced former Lake County Clerk Tom Philpot on Thursday, it was good news for ethics in government.
Justice will be served because time will be served.
Philpot was convicted of stealing $24,000 in child support money between 2004 and 2009. His felony conviction means he was not only sentenced to 18 months behind bars but also is barred from holding elective office again.
Moody said the evidence against Philpot not only was sufficient to convict Philpot of theft but also showed his action was the result of "arrogance, greed and a warped sense of entitlement."
Philpot is the latest name inscribed on the Lake County politicians wall of shame but far from the only one.
Dozens of public officials in Lake County have been convicted in corruption cases in recent years. It is a travesty that so many have misbehaved, but also that the voters put these people in office.
State Rep. Shelli Vandenburgh, D-Crown Point, was a deputy under Philpot when this happened. She testified she warned Philpot that the IV-D child support money was not meant to compensate the county clerk for his deputies' diligence in recording and accepting child support payments to needy children.
She was right to advise Philpot not to take the money for himself, and she was right to testify against him.
Lake County residents, no less than anyone else, deserve honest representation in public office.
Philpot deserves to be put behind bars for what he did.
Let this be a lesson to other elected officials: Public funds are public funds, not for your personal enjoyment.