A Hermitage man and a Cleveland man face a May 11th sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to cheating in a fishing tournament in court Monday afternoon.

Jacob Runyan, 43,  of Cleveland and 36-year-old Chase Cominsky of Hermitage both pled guilty to charges of cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals in the Cuyahoga County Municipal Court.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools as a result of the plea deal.

The charges stem from an incident in October of 2022 in which Runyan and Cominsky cut open fish and placed lead weights inside the fish. Video of this discovery went viral on social media.

As a result of the discovery, Runyan and Cominsky were disqualified and removed from the park.

Runyan and Cominsky were disqualified from the competition and escorted from the park.

The boat and trailer used by Runyan and Cominsky was seized at the home of Cominsky to help with the investigation.

Participants paid $35 entry fees to join what is billed as Lake Erie’s largest walleye fishing tournament that offers some sizeable prizes.

In addition to a total of $25,000 in weekly prizes over the four weekend-long tournaments, first-place anglers could win a $125,000 boat.

 The second place prize is a $110,000 boat.  Third through fifth place prizes range from $65,000 to $45,000.