A former Ohio sheriff who allegedly made himself rich after pocketing almost $100,000 in bribes from drug dealers and others while in office has been indicted on several federal charges.
Samuel Crish, 54, of Delphos, Ohio, is facing charges of bribery, extortion and making false statements, the Associated Press reports. Crish wrung the hefty sum out of five people between 2012 and 2016 while he was serving as the sheriff of Allen County. Crish is also accused of giving special treatment in return for money.
The sheriff was allowed to resign in January 2017 after an FBI raid on his office in September 2016. FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said that Crish made his situation worse (I guess) by lying to the agency.
“The conduct described in these charges is as offensive as it is audacious,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said in a news release, according to the Toledo Blade. “Demanding bribes from drug dealers, gamblers, and johns arrested in prostitution stings reads like something out of a bad movie.”
The Blade details Crish’s alleged misconduct as follows:
According to the indictment unsealed Monday against Mr. Crish, in June, 2012, he asked an unnamed person for $8,000 to cover medical bills. The person gave him the cash in an alley behind the sheriff’s office and later applied for a job as a nurse at the Allen County jail.
Mr. Crish then told the person he needed $42,000 to pay debts, prompting that person to take out a home equity line of credit and give him the money. The sheriff’s office then hired that person as a nurse at the jail, the indictment states.
In March, 2013, Mr. Crish allegedly accepted $20,000 in cash from a person who asked him to not send deputies to a two-day party he was planning where he would charge a cover and sell liquor, according to the indictment. Later, the then-sheriff told the person he was going to be indicted but that he would “take care of it” if he would forgive half of the $20,000 debt.
In 2015, Mr. Crish solicited $7,000 from the owner of a used car business who was arrested during a prostitution sting. Mr. Crish then got the solicitation charges dropped against the person.
Later in 2015, Mr. Crish allegedly solicited — and received — a $10,000 loan from the owner of an Elida, Ohio, used car business owner who was then arrested during a prostitution sting. The person visited Mr. Crish, who asked him for $500.
In October, 2015, the indictment alleges, Mr. Crish went to the owner of a local grocery store and implied the business was going to be investigated for illegal gambling but said that he could stop it if the person gave him a loan. Mr. Crish allegedly received a $2,000 loan and repaid it without interest.
Crish has pleaded not guilty to his charges and was allowed to remain free pending the trial—although he will have to meet certain conditions, including travel restrictions.
Crish will also be required to avoid contact with any of his alleged victims or witnesses in the case and will have to undergo psychiatric evaluation. He is also forbidden from having firearms or ammunition.