Updated: July 10, 2014 2:08AM
Two of Lake County’s more colorful and storied politicians are nearing the end of their prison terms.
Thomas Philpot, who served as Lake County’s coroner and clerk and ran four county sheriff, was released Wednesday from the PACT Bradley Center, a halfway house in Michigan City, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website. His release marks the end of his 18-month sentence for felony theft and mail fraud.
Philpot, 56, of St. John, who also has degrees in podiatry and law, started his sentence at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan. He couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Republican icon Robert Cantrell, 72, was scheduled for release Wednesday from the federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky, to a halfway house, though it was unclear where he was being transferred.
Cantrell, of East Chicago, has served 72 months for taking money for personal use from a contract between the North Township trustee’s office, where he worked, and Addiction and Family Care Counseling Service. He was accused of not reporting the income to the IRS.
A federal court jury convicted Philpot of pocketing thousands in federal funds while he was county clerk, money that was earmarked to improve the collection system for court-ordered child support payments.
County records showed that the Lake County clerk’s office, under Philpot, took bonus money from the Child Support Incentive Fund for the first time since 1994. The fund is set up by the federal government to give county clerks and prosecutors a percentage of the money collected from delinquent child support payments.