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Shahadey sentenced to 16 months and 2 years probation in federal court

Frank Shahadey, former Vigo County Deputy Sheriff and Vigo County School Corporation liaison officer, has been sentenced to 16 months by a federal judge.

Posted: Oct 5, 2017 5:04 AM
Updated: Oct 5, 2017 5:04 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - Frank Shahadey, former Vigo County Deputy Sheriff and Vigo County School Corporation liaison officer, has been sentenced to 16 months by a federal judge.

Shahadey was arrested by federal agents in June of 2016 and has been in jail ever since.

Shahadey was sentenced in the Birch Bayh Federal Building in Downtown Indianapolis by Judge Jane Magnus Stinson. He was sentenced to 16 months as well as 2 years of supervised released. Shahadey has served 11 months already.  

He has also been ordered to pay $80,500 in restitution to the Vigo County School Corporation. Now, that amount could be cut in half if Franklin Fennell is convicted. Fennell's trial is set for December. 

In court on Tuesday, Shahadey stated the kick-back scheme was Fennell's idea and involved Mike Pick's tree service. 

We will have a complete recap of the sentencing tonight on News 10 First at Five and News 10 at 6 p.m.

UPDATE by Jon Swaner:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - Frank Shahadey arrived in Courtroom 307 of the Birch Bayh Federal Building wearing blue pants, a white t-shirt, and shackles. Those didn't keep him from waving to family and friends who packed about three pews on the defendant's side of the courtroom. They came despite Shahadey telling them not to come to his sentencing, something he said because he was embarrassed.

Shahadey would later say he's glad they came to support him on a day Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson would sentence him to 16 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release. This past June, Shahadey agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of wire fraud and theft of government funds.

The charges stem from a kickback scheme we've been talking about since the arrests of Shahadey and Franklin Fennell in November of 2016. But not until today have we heard details of the scheme from Shahadey himself. He provided limited details during a statement to the court.

"I am truly, truly, truly sorry for what I've done," Shahadey told the court. 

The court responded by asking him how Shahadey decided to get involved in such a scheme?

Shahadey said he got a call from Fennell, who told him the school corporation had some work that needed to be done. Shahadey claims that Fennell went on to say that Mike Pick, who owns a tree service among other things, could give them "a little kickback."

"I wanted nothing to do with this," Shahadey told the court.

Shahadey called his portion of the kickback "a finder's fee."

The scheme bilked taxpayers to the tune of $80,500. That's also the restitution Shahadey was ordered to pay, unless Fennell is also convicted in his case. Then that amount is cut in half. 

Before handing down her sentence, Judge Magnus-Stinson called Shahadey a "cop turned criminal who stole from school children."

The Judge said the evidence shows Shahadey used the "finder's fees" to pay for things for trips to Florida, cars, gambling and a lavish lifestyle. The Judge also scolded Shahadey for continuing the scheme even after he and Fennell were questioned by federal agents. 

"This takes a special kind of arrogance," Judge Magnus-Stinson said. 

She then addressed Shahadey's efforts to "intimidate, harass and threaten witnesses" in this case, all while doing this unabated. The Judge said Shahadey threatened to kill Pick as well as a VCSC employee. He also threatened a Vigo Co. dispatcher who at first refused to run a criminal history on that employee.

That's the purpose of the two years of supervised release Shahadey received. Judge Magnus-Stinson said that time will be used to reintegrate Shahadey back into society, and it will also offer a level of protection for people the Judge said are still very afraid of what Shahadey will do.

Shahadey said he would never harm anyone. He also described himself as one with "more bark and no bite." Judge Magnus-Stinson agreed, saying it was clear to her that Shahadey will most likely not reoffend. 

Still, the judge views Shahadey's sentence as a means of sending a message to others who many consider such a scheme, especially those like Shahadey who are in positions of public trust. 

Shahadey will still be in prison when Fennell's trial begins December 11th. Fennell last month rejected a plea deal from the government, setting the stage for a trial that will take place in the same Courtroom 307, where Shahadey could very well testify. And his brief story today before Judge Magnus-Stinson gives us a preview of what he could say on the stand, if in fact the trial still happens.

Stay tuned.



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