- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted former Treasurer Martha Shoffner, already facing trial next month over accusations she accepted cash payments from a broker to whom she steered investments, on new charges that she spent thousands in campaign funds on personal items.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer announced that Shoffner was charged in the superseding indictment with 10 counts of mail fraud over allegations she used $9,800 from her successful 2010 re-election campaign on personal items. Thyer’s office did not release a copy of the indictment, and it was not available on a court website late Thursday afternoon.

“According to the Indictment, campaign checks were mailed for payments to a personal Wells Fargo credit card from November 5, 2010 through October 9, 2011,” Thyer’s office said in a statement. “Individual checks ranged from $200 to $5,000. The charges to the credit card included clothing, cosmetics and other personal expenses.”

Chuck Banks, Shoffner’s attorney, said in an email Thursday night that he had not yet read the indictment. But he said he did not plan on seeking a delay in the trial because of the news charges.

Shoffner’s set to stand trial March 3 on charges she accepted more than $36,000 cash from a bond broker to whom she steered state investments. Shoffner has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Shoffner, 69, was arrested at her Newport home May 18 after the FBI said it caught her on tape accepting a $6,000 payment from the broker, who hasn’t been identified.

Shoffner, a Democrat who was first elected in 2006 and won re-election four years later, resigned days after her arrest.

Thyer said the latest charges stem from an investigation by an FBI public corruption task force. Mail fraud carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine with not more than three years of supervised release.

Shoffner had initially planned to plead guilty last year to bribery charges related to the cash payments from the broker until she told U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes the payments didn’t affect her decisions as treasurer and that she didn’t intentionally steer business to the broker.

When Holmes asked Shoffner last week if she accepted payments from the broker, she responded: “Yes, but it was offered. I didn’t demand it.”

Holmes rejected the plea since she wasn’t admitting guilt to all of the elements of the charge. Federal prosecutors later expanded their charges against Shoffner over the payments.

The new indictment comes as Shoffner’s attorney has been pushing for more details from prosecutors about the allegations against the former treasurer. In a filing late Thursday, Banks asked Holmes to order prosecutors to provide a transcript of a recording between an employee from the treasurer’s office and a bond broker.

In the filing, Banks cited the new charges as a reason for needing the transcript quickly.

“This timeliness becomes more important in having just been told that the United States Attorney’s Office has superseded the Indictment and added additional accusations of mail fraud, for which the Defendant will not seek a continuance of the scheduled trial date,” Banks wrote in the motion.


Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide