United States

They angled for a $28,000 payout. After viral video, 2 fishermen were charged with cheating.

Two fishermen captured in a viral video appearing to scam an Ohio fishing tournament were on the hook for multiple crimes, including cheating, authorities said in announcing their indictments Wednesday.

The allegedly fishy conduct of Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, at last month’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament was described by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley in a news release as “not only dishonorable but also criminal.”

Runyan and Cominsky were indicted on charges of attempted grand theft, cheating, possession of criminal tools and unlawful ownership of wild animals, the release said.

Two fishermen were found to have weighed down their fish with lead weights in order to win a tournament in Cleveland.@walleyemafia1 via TikTok

The criminal tools charge stemmed from the pair allegedly using Cominsky’s boat during the competition, the release said. Authorities seized the vessel and its trailer Tuesday.

The men had sought a $28,760 payout at the Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 tournament in Cleveland.

A scandal over the alleged crimes erupted Sept. 30, when a video showed a crowd gathering around the competition’s proclaimed winners, Runyan and Cominsky.

Tournament director Jason Fischer could be seen slicing open the men’s catch to reveal lead weights stuffed inside.

Observers could be heard yelling expletives and expressing disbelief. “We got weights in fish!” one person could be heard shouting.

In the release, the prosecutor’s office said Fischer cut open the walleye after noticing their catch weighed more than their appearance suggested.

Ten weights were found inside the fish, with eight of them weighing 12 ounces and two weighing 8 ounces.

Walleye fisherman Troy Krause, who uploaded a video of the tournament chaos to Tiktok, said earlier this month said others in competitive fishing had been suspicious of the men after scoring a series of wins at tournaments over the last year.

“I think they just got carried away and they finally got caught, which is good,” he said.

It wasn’t clear if Runyan and Cominsky had lawyers to speak on their behalf. Court records did not list any. A message left for Runyan was not immediately returned. Cominsky could not be reached.

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