Shoffner faces additional 10 counts of mail fraud


LITTLE ROCK — An additional 10 counts of mail fraud have been filed against former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner, who was named in a 14-count extortion and bribery indictment last year, the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock said Thursday.

A second superseding indictment alleges that Shoffner used $9,800 of campaign funds from her re-election campaign for state treasurer for personal use, according to a news release. Shoffner allegedly mailed campaign checks for payments to a personal Wells Fargo credit card from Nov. 5, 2010, through Oct. 9, 2011.

The individual checks ranged from $200 to $5,000 and the purchases on the credit card included clothing, cosmetics and other personal expenses, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The new counts of mail fraud against the former state treasurer are in addition to six counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and seven counts of receipt of bribery that were filed against her in June.

Shoffner is scheduled to stand trial in federal court on March 3.

Chuck Banks, Shoffner’s attorney, said Thursday evening he had not read the indictment.

“We’ll enter a plea of not guilty and we’ll be ready to go to trial,” he said, adding he didn’t know when a hearing would be held on the new charges.

Shoffner resigned May 21. She had been under investigation for more than a year because of suspect bond transactions in her office when federal authorities took her into custody at her Newport home May 18 after an informant delivered a $6,000 cash payment in a pie box.

During a hearing in late May, U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes rejected Shoffner’s guilty plea to a single count of federal corruption after Shoffner refused to say she took cash payments from a broker in exchange for shifting state bond business to him. The additional 14 counts were filed against her a week later.

Shoffner faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each mail fraud count, up to to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each extortion count and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each bribery count.

In December 2012, the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee requested a criminal investigation into the way Shoffner’s office sold bonds, including her decision to sell bonds before they matured, resulting in an overall economic loss to the state of $434,249.

The bond transactions with St. Bernard Financial Services of Russellville were made by one broker, Steele Stephens, who resigned from the firm following Shoffner’s arrest.