HAMMOND — Porter County Assessor Jon M. Snyder will cooperate with federal authorities in the corruption case against his brother, Portage Mayor James Snyder, as part of a plea agreement in an unrelated tax case, his attorney said.
Jon Snyder, dressed in a blue suit with brown loafers, was arraigned Friday morning in the U.S. District Court of Hammond on allegations he failed to supply information to the IRS, a Class A misdemeanor. The parties agreed Snyder would be released from federal custody on a $20,000 unsecured appearance bond until a plea hearing scheduled for Oct. 30.
Jon Snyder admitted in a plea agreement filed Friday afternoon that as owner of Shoreline Appraisals Inc., his private business, he failed to file tax forms with the IRS for an independent contractor his company hired in 2013.
He agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge and will face no new criminal tax charges for the 2008 through 2013 tax years, the agreement states.
As part of the agreement, Jon Snyder also agreed to “cooperate fully, truthfully and candidly” with federal authorities regarding his “knowledge of or involvement in, any violation of federal or state law.”
Matthew Fech, defense attorney for Jon Snyder, confirmed Friday afternoon his client was a cooperating witness against James Snyder, who was charged in November 2016 with felony bribery and extortion charges related to Portage towing vendor and public works contracts, as well as tax evasion charges related to his private business.
Fech said his client's case was unrelated to the corruption case.
“His case stands apart from his brother's case,” Fech said. “There is no allegation that my client was involved in a pay-to-play scheme.”
The defense attorney declined to comment on whether Jon Snyder had recorded conversations with his brother as part of the federal investigation.
Fech said outside the courthouse Friday morning Jon Snyder had accepted responsibility for the tax offense, which resulted from a “filing error” related to his private appraisal business. He said Snyder's business hired an independent contractor to perform services, but then failed to file tax forms alerting the IRS of the contractor's work.
Fech said Jon Snyder had no intention to resign as Porter County assessor. He said the allegations had nothing to do with his client's work as county assessor. He said Jon Snyder was married with 10 children, and at the time of his mistake, he had “a lot going on” with his private business and family.
“To be clear, Mr. Snyder is accepting responsibility for errors related to his appraisal business,” Fech said.