Two anglers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an Ohio tournament cheating scandal have been sentenced to 10 days in jail and will be on probation for a year and a half.
Jacob Runyan, 43, of Ashtabula, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, 36, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, admitted to stuffing the fish with lead weights and fish fillets in an attempt to win thousands of dollars in the tournament in late from last year.
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They were caught after Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament Director Jason Fischer became suspicious of the fish they delivered as they were heavier than typical walleye. Fischer opened the freshwater fish to find weights and stuffed walleye fillets inside.
The men pleaded guilty to fraud and illegal ownership of wild animals as part of a plea deal in March. Both men agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses, with Cominsky agreeing to relinquish his $100,000 worth of bass boat.
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After their jail terms were up, they were ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. Half of the fine will be waived if they each donate $1,250 to a nonprofit organization that promotes kid-friendly fishing. If they violate their jail sentence, they could face an additional 30 days in county jail.
The two men would have received more than $28,000 in prize money for winning the tournament.
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Runyan and Cominsky were also investigated for allegations of cheating at a separate walleye tournament in the spring of 2022, according to court records. But a prosecutor concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge them.
Associated Press contributed to this report.