Arkansas Treasurer in Court
LITTLE ROCK —
"So you plan on resigning?"
"No...not at this moment. Thank you."
A quick question and answer session with Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner as she leaves federal court Monday. Shoffner remains one of Arkansas' seven constitutional officers despite allegations she traded state contracts for cash.
The official complaint filed in federal court today against Shoffner is attempt and conspiracy to commit extortion.
The complaint describes a 68 year-old single woman having trouble getting by on her $54,000 a year salary.
The allegation is that Shoffner took cash payments from an unnamed securities broker to help pay the rent on her Little Rock apartment in exchange for steering lucrative state investments...and the commissions that go along with them...to that broker (who is now cooperating with the government).
The complaint alleges that at least six payments of $6,000 each were made to Shoffner over the past three years.
The most recent payment was made on Saturday morning, when the complaint says the broker visited Shoffner's Newport home and presented her a pie in a box...a box that also included sixty $100 bills.
When the broker left, the FBI moved in with a warrant, recovered the cash and took Shoffner to the Pulaski County jail.
"The allegations against Ms. Shoffner are serious," says Randy Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Little Rock. "And they completely erode the public trust that we put in our elected officials if they prove to be true."
The complaint says that in January of 2012 an employee in the treasurer's office noticed a sharp increase in the amount of state investments going to the broker in question, who has been granted immunity from federal prosecution for cooperating with the government.
After spending two nights in jail Shoffner was released on her own recognizance.
It is alleged that Shoffner received at least $36,000 in exchange for sending business to this unnamed broker.
The U.S. Attorney did not have an estimate on how much profit the broker may have made and when asked if the broker gets to keep it, Christopher Thyer said "I don't believe so...but I don't know at this point."
Air date: May 20th, 2013