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Press Release

Former Indianapolis City-County Councilman Sentenced for Soliciting a Bribe and Attempted Extortion

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Former Indianapolis and Marion County, Ind., City-County Councilman Lincoln Plowman was sentenced today to 40 months in prison , announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett of the Southern District of Indiana. 


U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney also ordered Plowman to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term.  Plowman, 48, was convicted by an Indianapolis jury in September 2011 of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe between Aug. 11, 2009, and Dec. 22, 2009, while serving as a member of the city-county council. 


“Mr. Plowman used his elected office for personal financial gain, betraying the trust placed in him by the people of Indianapolis,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Today’s sentencing shows that public corruption has a steep price. It weakens democratic institutions and undermines the public’s confidence in government.  We are determined to continue holding accountable those officials who abuse their positions.”


“Today’s sentencing serves as a warning throughout Indianapolis and across Indiana that our public offices are not for sale,” U.S. Attorney Hogsett said.  “Although this tragedy saddens us all, it would be an even greater tragedy if such violations of the public trust went undiscovered and unpunished.”


"The American people have a right to expect honest services from their public officials, and FBI Indianapolis will continue to aggressively investigate those officials who violate the public trust," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Holley of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division.


According to evidence presented at trial, Plowman solicited an undercover FBI agent to pay $5,000 in cash and to make a $1,000 campaign contribution for Plowman’s benefit.   In exchange for the payments, Plowman offered official actions and influence to facilitate the opening of a strip club in Indianapolis.  At the time of the crimes, Plowman was a member of the metropolitan development committee of the city-county council.   He was also a major with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. 


Evidence at trial also showed that Plowman had previously accepted bribes from an existing strip club that was part of a national chain ; in exchange , he provided official acts and influence against legislation to ban smoking at clubs in Indianapolis.  The evidence showed that the chain feared that legislation would become a model for other jurisdictions.


The case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe H. Vaughn for the Southern District of Indiana.   The case was investigated by the FBI.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 11-1563