Treasurer in Turmoil
A criminal complaint has put the future of both the state treasurer and the office she holds in question.
Martha Shoffner spent the night in jail, the morning in court, and is now free until her next court date.
Ms. Shoffner was arrested on Saturday and since then it seems there is no shortage of opinions regarding her situation and her future.
After the hearing Monday morning we finally got to hear from the treasurer herself.
But before she spoke the government rolled out its case against her. And it doesn't look good.
The U.S. attorney's complaint is now public, and if you believe everything you read, Martha Shoffner was having trouble paying the rent on a Little Rock apartment. So the government alleges the 68 year-old from Newport solicited and accepted cash payments from a securities trader in exchange for steering state bond business his way.
"The allegations against Ms. Shoffner are extremely serious," says Randy Coleman, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI office in Little Rock. "Because as treasurer she is the head banker for this state. She is entrusted with handling the collection, investment and disbursement of hard earned tax payer dollars."
On Saturday morning the FBI sent agents to Newport as the broker-turned-informant visited Shoffner's home. The complaint says he delivered to her a pie in a box...a box that also included $6,000.00 cash.
The government says it was the sixth such payment made to Shoffner in the past three years...a time period that also shows a marked increase in state bond business sent the broker's way.
The FBI executed a warrant, recovered the cash and took Shoffner to jail.
"We all have a job to make sure that our elected officials and our public servants...elected or not...abide by the law and stand up for the law," says U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer. "And when that trust is broken, punishment is due."
Shoffner and every person accused of wrongdoing is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But past Arkansas politicians with names like Tucker, McGee, George, McCuen, Wilson, Clark and Hallum can attest...when the Feds build a case, things usually don't end well for the accused.
Air date: May 20th, 2013