Former investigator faces gambling-related charges

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A former investigator of the Vigo County Prosecutor’s office finds himself on the wrong side of the law.  On Wednesday, Special Prosecutor Nina Alexander filed 6 felony charges against 71-year old James Counterman.

These charges follow a four-year investigation by the Indiana Gaming Commission into illegal gambling operations in Vigo County.

The investigation concluded in November of 2013 with 41 criminal cases.  According to Larry Rollins, who is the director of the Gaming Control Division, Counterman is now the 20th to be charged in connection to this investigation. A probable cause affidavit has been filed in conjunction with the formal charges brought forth by Alexander.

The Gaming Commission received their original tip that Counterman was involved in illegal gambling in October of 2009.  The person who tipped off the Commission said that Counterman was employed as an investigator in the prosecutor’s office at the time.

Counterman is alleged to have told operators of illegal poker games in Terre Haute that for a “price” they would not be bothered by the law or prosecuted for illegal gaming activities.  A confidential informant later came forward and offered that it was known in Terre Haute’s poker game players that Counterman “protected” gamblers from prosecution.

In the affidavit, three people admit to contributing to the Committee to Elect Terry Modesitt.

The investigator handling the case for the Indiana Gaming Commission took his findings to Modesitt on December 4, 2013.  After viewing video tapes, Modesitt terminated Counterman’s employment.  The investigator further states in the affidavit no evidence was developed which showed that Modesitt “was aware of the representations that Counterman was making regarding Couterman’s authority and/or ability to ‘protect’ individuals from criminal charges.”

Counterman is charged with three counts of Inducing an individual to commit professional gambling and three counts of official misconduct.

Counterman appeared in court and is free on bond.  He’ll be back in court on September 9th.  Judge David Bolk then recused himself from the case, which means a special judge will be appointed.

Rollins says the Terre Haute case is still open.  If you have information regarding this case or other forms of illegal gambling, you can contact the Indiana Gaming Commission anonymously.

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