story from Talk Business, a TCW content partner
Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner was found guilty on all 14 counts of bribery and extortion she was facing from federal prosecutors.
Shoffner, whose jury trial began last week, was proven to have taken $36,000 from bond broker Steele Stephens in exchange for state business. She still faces a trial on additional allegations concerning money received related to her campaign account.
The U.S. Attorney’s office proved that Shoffner showed favoritism toward Stephens, who formerly worked for St. Bernard Financial Services of Russellville. In her trial, he admitted he made nearly $2.5 million in broker commissions off of state bond business that Shoffner steered his way. She had contended that her direction of bond business to St. Bernard and Mr. Stephens was not done because of the money or gifts she received from him.
She was arrested last May and charged with six counts of extortion under color of official right, one count of attempted extortion and seven counts of receipt of a bribe by an agent of a state government receiving federal funds.
After initial resistance and threat of impeachment, she resigned from office allowing Gov. Mike Beebe to appoint retired legislative auditor Charles Robinson in the post.
Last month, Shoffner, 69, was also charged with with 10 counts of mail fraud.
Mail fraud carries a possible sentence of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment and/or not more than a $250,000 fine with not more than three years of supervised release.
Those charges allege that Shoffner used $9,800 of campaign funds from her re-election campaign for Treasurer of the State of Arkansas for personal expenses. It also says campaign checks were mailed for payments to a personal Wells Fargo credit card from November 5, 2010 through October 9, 2011. Individual checks ranged from $200 to $5,000. The charges to the credit card included clothing, cosmetics and other personal expenses.