VIGO CO., Ind. (WTHI) - A former West Terre Haute police chief was sentenced to time in Federal prison during a hearing Monday afternoon.
In November 2012, Mark Arnold pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to a federal firearms dealer. The charge came after federal investigators found Arnold used public funds to buy 26 guns, which he then re-sold.
In Monday's sentencing hearing, a federal judge sentenced Arnold to 12 months and one day in prison.
During the hearing, Arnold's defense asked for a sentence below the recommended federal sentencing. They pointed out that, prior to this set of charges, Arnold had no serious criminal record.
Arnold's attorney also described Arnold as a good father and a generous community member. She pointed out that, as a police officer, Arnold could be targeted by other inmates in prison.
Arnold himself spoke to the federal judge.
"I understand that it was a big deal," Arnold said, describing his remorse over the crime. "I'm sorry for the time and money I've cost the government."
Prosecutors, however, said the crime was serious and deserved a strict punishment. They pointed out that, of the 26 guns Arnold reportedly bought, six still have not been tracked down. They also noted that, during his pre-trial release, Arnold was charged with a misdemeanor related to the treatment of a shot deer. They said that simply being in possession of a loaded gun was a violation of the terms of his release.
When giving his sentence, the federal judge spoke to Arnold about the seriousness of the crime.
"You clearly should have set the bar on ethical behavior," the judge said. "All of this casts a dark cloud over your department."
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