Muncie, Indiana, Mayor Arrested in Corruption Probe

(CN) – FBI agents arrested the mayor of Muncie, Indiana, on Monday on a charge of theft of government funds in a corruption probe of his administration that has lasted for nearly four years.

Muncie, Indiana, Mayor Dennis Tyler. (Photo: City of Muncie, Indiana)

Dennis Tyler, 76, is accused of accepting a $5,000 bribe for steering an excavation job to a local contractor. 

Tyler will wrap up an eight-year tenure as mayor at the end of the year.

“My office intends to prosecute Tyler to the full extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said at a press conference in Indianapolis hours after the arrest.

The FBI investigation led to former Muncie building commissioner Craig Nichols being sent to federal prison for two years after he pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud.

Tyler’s indictment accuses him of accepting the money from Muncie sewer district official Tracy Barton.

The FBI searched City Hall and the Muncie Sewer District over the summer. Tyler is the seventh person charged in the investigation.

According to the Muncie Star-Press, Tyler faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

After appearing in an initial hearing in federal court in Indianapolis Monday, Tyler was released from federal custody. He is awaiting a Jan. 21 trial.

Barton is set to stand trial in April on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, witness tampering and falsification of documents in a federal investigation.

Tyler, a Muncie native, served in the city’s fire department for 42 years. He was also an Indiana state legislator for six years before he was elected mayor.

The Democrat will be succeeded by Republican Dan Ridenour, who won the mayoral race earlier this month.

While this has become a pattern in our community of late, I am pleased that two weeks ago voters overwhelmingly supported turning the page for a new day in Muncie,” Ridenour said.

Tyler’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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