Two fishermen who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an Ohio tournament cheating scandal were sentenced to 10-day jail terms 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 fish with lead weights and fish fillets in an attempt to win thousands of dollars in the tournament late last year.
They were caught after Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament director Jason Fischer became suspicious of the fish they turned in as they were heavier than the typical walleye. Fischer cut the freshwater fish open and found weights and walleye fillets stuffed inside.
The men pleaded guilty to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals as part of a plea deal in March. Both men agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses, and Cominsky agreed to give up his bass boat worth $100,000.
After their jail terms are over, they have been ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. Half of the fine will be waived if they each make a $1,250 donation to a nonprofit organization that promotes fishing with children. If they violate their jail sentence, they could face and additional 30 days in county jail.
The two men would have received more than $28,000 in prizes for winning the tournament.
Runyan and Cominsky were also investigated over cheating allegations at a separate walleye tournament in the spring of 2022, according to court records. But a prosecutor concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge them.
The Associated Press contributed this report.