8:53 AM EST, January 8, 2013
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A former northwest Indiana county coroner convicted on public corruption charges could face up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.
A federal judge in Hammond announced Monday that former Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot will be sentenced Feb. 21.
The Post-Tribune of Merrillville reports (http://bit.ly/WqqGof ) Philpot was found guilty in August of paying himself about $24,000 while he was the Lake County clerk from a special state fund used to reimburse county employees who helped collect child support payments.
State law bars elected officials from boosting their salary without a fiscal body's approval. Defense lawyers claimed Philpot didn't know the payments were illegal.
Philpot served three terms as county coroner and two as county clerk. He ran unsuccessfully for Hammond mayor and for county sheriff.