A former Indianapolis city-county councilor has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in swindling an Indianapolis doctor.
Paul Bateman apologized in court to his family for “bringing shame” to them, and to Dr. Arthur Sumrall, who invested $1.7 million in a supposed ethanol project backed by the Russell Foundation.
Instead, federal prosecutors say Bateman and foundation creator Michael Russell burned through $1 million in 33 days, and spent Sumrall’s money on personal items from cars to Bateman‘s tax bill.
Both men pleaded guilty. Russell was sentenced to more than five years in prison last week.
A third defendant was acquitted. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Bateman‘s cooperation with investigators and acceptance of responsibility may have saved him as much as five years of prison time.
Bateman said in court it took him nearly a year to realize the money the foundation raised was going to other purposes. He says he was counting on another investor to allow him to pay back the doctor and resign.
Bateman is the second council member sentenced to prison in two years. Republican ex-councillor Lincoln Plowman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for bribery in 2011.