Fishermen in Cheating Scandal Plead Not Guilty



The fishermen accused of stuffing their catch with weights in an attempt to win a walleye tournament in Ohio last month pleaded not guilty to cheating charges in court Wednesday. Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky did not speak during their appearances in court, reports. They are charged with several fifth-degree felonies, including cheating, attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools, meaning each charge could bring a sentence of a year behind bars and fines of up to $2,500, NPR reports. Prior to their fish being sliced open to find lead weights and fillets of other fish inside, they had been set to win the tournament and snag a $28,760 prize.

Prior to the alleged cheating being uncovered, other fishermen had been suspicious of an unprecedented series of wins in tournaments dating back to 2021. At one point during the remarkable run, Runyan said their winnings amounted to more than $300,000, but some of them were also taken away after one of the anglers failed a polygraph test and they were disqualified. (NPR reports polygraphs are “a common precaution at high-stakes fishing tournaments.”) The next hearing is set for Nov. 9. Each posted personal bail, which the judge set at $2,500 each. (Read more cheating stories.)

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