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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

United States Attorney Asks Court To Dismiss Remaining Counts Of Indictment Against Former State Treasurer Martha Shoffner

LITTLE ROCK Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, has filed a motion to dismiss the remaining counts of the Second Superseding Indictment against former Arkansas State Treasurer Martha Shoffner, age 70, of Newport, Arkansas.

Following a jury trial, on March 11, 2014, Shoffner was found guilty of six counts of extortion under color of official right, one count of attempted extortion under color of official right, and seven counts of receipt of a bribe by an agent of a state government receiving federal funds. A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Arkansas had previously indicted Shoffner in a Second Superseding Indictment in February 2014, for ten counts of mail fraud. These additional charges were severed by the United States District Court and are set for trial on February 2, 2015.

The mail fraud charges in the Second Superseding Indictment which are the subject of the motion to dismiss alleged that Shoffner used $9,800.00 of campaign funds from her re-election campaign for Treasurer of the State of Arkansas for personal expenses, including clothing and cosmetics, on a Wells Fargo credit card from November 5, 2010, through October 9, 2011.

“As set forth in our motion, we have given this matter considerable and careful thought prior to announcing the decision today,” stated Thyer. “Based on our estimate of the anticipated sentencing guideline range that Ms. Shoffner faces as a result of the March 11th convictions and our expectation that if she was convicted on the mail fraud charges, there would be minimal, if any, impact on the sentencing guideline range, I have determined that the appropriate course for the United States is to dismiss these charges. My determination included careful consideration of the resources necessary to pursue a second trial,” Thyer went on to say. “What Ms. Shoffner did was wrong on many levels—not the least of which was the breach of the trust placed in her by the electorate. However, at this time, it is best to move forward with sentencing on the bribery and extortion convictions, and we anticipate presenting evidence related to the mail fraud at that time,” Thyer concluded.

Updated July 14, 2015