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Press Release

Gary, Indiana Woman Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Indiana
For Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Wire Fraud

HAMMOND – Ethel Shelton, age 74, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to one year of probation, announced United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch, II.

Shelton was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud on April 17, 2018, after a 10-day jury trial. According to records in the case, Shelton was employed by the Calumet Township Trustee’s Office from 2003 to 2014, and served as Executive Secretary for Trustee Mary Elgin. During this time, Shelton and other Township employees diverted the resources of the Trustee’s Office by doing private campaign work for Elgin at work, using public facilities and equipment, and while being paid with public funds. Shelton also participated in a scheme to solicit and pressure Township employees to repay a portion of their wages to support Elgin’s reelection efforts in exchange for continued job security. Elgin and her son, Steven Hunter, previously pled guilty and have been sentenced. Alex Wheeler, who was also charged in this case, was acquitted at trial.

In addition to living under court-imposed conditions for one year, Shelton is required to pay restitution in the amount of $15,000 jointly and severally with Elgin and Hunter, in addition to a $2,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Lerner, Abizer Zanzi and Philip Benson. 


Updated November 20, 2019

Public Corruption