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Two men indicted in Ohio by charges of cheating in fishing tournament

The men face up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines for the felonies and 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for the misdemeanor.

Walleye tournament video still
A still image taken from an Oct. 1 YouTube video that appears to show lead weights and fish fillets stuffed into walleyes to win more money with higher weights.
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CLEVELAND — Two men have been indicted in Ohio on criminal charges after being accused of cheating last month during a Lake Erie fishing tournament by placing weights in walleyes in a scheme to win prize money of more than $28,000 for landing the heaviest fish.

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A Cuyahoga County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, on felony cheating, attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools charges. They were also charged with unlawful ownership of wild animals, a misdemeanor, the office of the county prosecutor said in a statement.

The men face up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines for the felonies and 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for the misdemeanor. On Tuesday, authorities executed a search warrant at Cominsky’s residence and seized his boat and trailer.

"I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in the statement.

It was unclear whether the two men have attorneys.

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On Sept. 30, they competed in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament in Cleveland. Participants from several surrounding states competed in the tournament to see which team could catch five of the heaviest walleye fish in Lake Erie.

After the competition, the tournament director noticed Runyan and Cominsky’s walleyes weighed more than they appeared and sliced open the fish, the prosecutor said.

Ten weights were located inside the walleyes, eight weighing 12 ounces (340 grams) and two weighing eight ounces. Several walleye filets were also found in the fish. The two men were immediately disqualified and instructed to leave the tournament, the prosecutor said.

If Runyan and Cominsky had won this tournament, they would have received a total prize of $28,760.

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