A 21-month investigation by the Cleveland office of the FBI has resulted in the six-count indictment against former Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish.
The charges now facing Crish could land the former top law enforcement officer in Allen County in prison for the rest of his life.
United States Attorney Justin Herdman made the announcement that is sending shock waves through the sheriff's office and around the state, saying the indictment reads like a bad movie and in his years of upholding the law, it's one of the worst cases he has seen because it involves a law enforcement officer.
"It is offensive as it is audacious, it’s brazen, it’s arrogant. It absolutely does demean, everything that somebody who takes the oath of office to serve in law enforcement, it demeans everything about that. The actions alleged in the indictment are that of a crime boss, not a sheriff," said Herdman.
An FBI Cleveland office spokesman said Crish tarnished his badge to protect his self-interests. It is alleged Crish that asked for and took bribes from and tipped off drug dealers, made promises to people arrested in prostitution stings if they gave him money, and hit up suspected gamblers. Even getting someone a nurses job at the sheriff's office in return for $42,000. That person taking out a home equity line of credit to make that happen. Herdman says Crish if convicted on all counts and sentenced to the maximum, faces 75 years in prison.
“Regardless how this plays out and ultimately that will be up to a federal judge to decide what the sentence would be, this is a very significant set of penalties that he will be facing. Yes, I think the prospect of at least years in jail, is a very real one for former Sheriff Crish,” said Herdman.
The FBI says this does not reflect on the sheriff's office and the services they provide. It only reflects on Crish.
“Its a bittersweet day for law enforcement when we investigate and charge an individual that was formally someone that upheld the law. He was one of us, bringing those that violate the law to justice, but now he is having to be brought to justice for decisions he made and behavior he engaged in," said Alvin Winston, Special Agent, Cleveland FBI Office.
Sam Crish turned himself in at the Toledo Office of the FBI over the lunch hour. He was scheduled to be in Toledo Federal Court, northern district at 3 p.m. today(6/18/18). His attorney, Michael Rumer tells Your Hometown Stations that Crish is out on bond and allowed to travel to Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio for his insurance job, and next week to Florida for his continued gambling addiction treatment.
Crish admitted to a gambling problem shortly after the September 7th, 2016 raid on his office. He sought treatment but eventually resigned his position in late January 2017.
Rumer also told Your Hometown Stations that he had not had time to study the indictment and therefore was withholding comment.
You can read the entire text of the federal indictment against Sam Crish here.