- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - An Illinois man was spared jail time and instead sentenced to eight years of probation on several felony charges related to casino fraud in Indiana.

Elliot J. Blunt pleaded guilty last month to fraud on a financial institution, corrupt business influence, fraud and theft. He admitted that over the past 10 years he had been involved in illegal activity, from selling and using drugs to participating in a scheme involving stolen credit cards to swindle about $60,000 from two Indiana casinos, the Kokomo Tribune (http://bit.ly/1TnFgQG ) reported.

Blunt, who’s one of five suspects in the fraud case, admitted to using a credit card that belonged to a 75-year-old Rhode Island woman to obtain a cash advance of about $4,500 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in April 2014. He told the court that he received $1,500 for doing so.

He was sentenced Monday in Madison Circuit Court in Anderson. He said he understood that the judge gave him a rare deal and that he would stop making “dumb decisions.”

“If I have to be broke not to do dumb stuff, then I have to be broke,” he said Monday.

His attorney, Daniel K. Whitehead, said he was surprised by the judge’s leniency given the severity of the charges. Whitehead said he’s tried to explain to Blunt that his ability to stay out of trouble will affect many other people, because he doesn’t want Blunt to “blow it for other people in the system.”

“I pray that he makes the system look good,” Whitehead said.

Blunt said he’s studying at Elgin Community College in Illinois and plans to earn a commercial driver’s license so he can work as a trucker.

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Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com

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