Ex-Indianapolis councilman sentenced in fraud case

Paul Bateman

A former Indianapolis City-County Council member was sentenced to 27 months in prison with three years on supervised release after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Paul Bateman, 58, said Monday in federal court that he had lost his moral compass. The ordained minister pleaded guilty in January to 13 counts of money laundering and fraud.

Bateman was accused of using a charitable foundation to defraud an investor, who was a local doctor, out of $1.7 million.

In addition to the prison sentence, Bateman was ordered to repay the $1.7 million.

Bateman allegedly assured the investor that the money would be invested in an ethanol manufacturing operation and that astoundingly high profits would benefit the investor as well as the charitable foundation.

Partner Michael Russell pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to more than four months in prison.

An indictment alleges the Democratic councilman and others used a charitable foundation to obtain money that was to be used for investments, but instead used it for vehicles, entertainment, jewelry and travel for themselves and others.

The scheme was allegedly disguised behind the now bankrupt Indianapolis-based Russell Foundation. Prosecutors say Bateman used his public position to lend credibility to the foundation.

Bateman was a councilman for six years, leaving office when his term ended in 2011.

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