Update: Martha Shoffner Indicted On 10 Counts of Mail Fraud

by Lance Turner and Gwen Moritz  on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 3:08 pm  

Martha Shoffner (Photo by AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner, already set for trial next month on the bribery and extortion charges that prompted her resignation last year, was indicted Thursday on 10 new counts of mail fraud.

The indictment by a federal grand jury in Little Rock alleges that Shoffner used $9,800 in campaign funds from her treasurer re-election campaign for personal expenses, including clothing, cosmetics and other personal expenses, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer. The actual indictment was not immediately available.

Read the Indictment: Click here (PDF) to download the indictment.

According to the indictment, campaign checks were mailed for payments to a personal Wells Fargo credit card from Nov. 5, 2010, through Oct. 9, 2011. Individual checks ranged from $200 to $5,000.

Shoffner's defense attorney, Chuck Banks of Little Rock, told Arkansas Business late Thursday that he hadn't seen the new indictment but that he expects Shoffner to plead not guilty. Shoffner is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges at 10 a.m. Feb. 27.

The U.S. Attorney's office said mail fraud carries a possible sentence of not more than 20 years' imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine and not more than three years of supervised release.

The new counts, announced by Eastern District U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer and the FBI, are in addition to the 14 other counts of extortion and receiving a bribe that Shoffner faces. 

Trial for those charges was already set for March 3 before U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes, and Banks has indicated that the trial will go forward as scheduled.

Gathering Evidence

In the hours before the superseding indictment was announced, Banks and federal prosecutors traded court filings.

In January, Banks filed a motion asking for evidence favorable to the defense, and on Thursday, prosecutors filed a response saying they had turned over everything they had. They said Banks should use his own subpoena power to get documents from state agencies like the Arkansas Securities Department and the Division of Legislative Audit, which had investigated bond trades in Shoffner's office.

Meanwhile, Banks amended his motion to specifically ask that the government be required to transcribe a recording that prosecutors had turned over to him on Wednesday.

 

 

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