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Surveyor releases statement, admits mistakes, blames others for ‘lies’

Van Til

Van Til

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Updated: January 5, 2014 6:32AM

In a letter apologizing for his crimes, Lake County Surveyor George Van Til announced Tuesday that he will resign effective Thursday, the day he is set to plead guilty to using his office to run his re-election campaigns for 2008 and 2012.

“I’ve come to acknowledge that long service in the same office can be detrimental and I believe that I am an example of the problems that can be caused by this,” Van Til wrote. “During the last third or so of my tenure, without really realizing it, I developed a sense that it was ‘my office’ and ‘my staff,’ and sometimes, especially in political situations, I approached it as such, on occasion asking employees to work for me, not the public.

He goes on to say that although he knowingly used his office for political purposes, his career is ending partly because of lies other people told.

Van Til was charged in May in U.S. District Court in Hammond with six counts of wire fraud and two counts related to obstructing justice. A plea deal filed Monday says he will plead guilty to the six counts of wire fraud, which come with a maximum of 20 years in prison.

In return, prosecutors will drop the two obstruction of justice charges, although he admitted in his plea agreement that he knowingly told an employee in February 2012 to destroy a county hard drive in order to hide evidence from federal agents.

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