Suspended City Commissioner Maddox & Associate Carter-Smith Plead Guilty to Corruption & Tax Charges
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Suspended Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Charles Maddox and business associate Janice Paige Carter-Smith today each pleaded guilty to two honest services fraud counts and one tax fraud conspiracy count arising from a 47-count indictment. Maddox and Carter-Smith face up to 45 years in federal prison followed by supervised release, as well as $750,000 in fines. In addition, Maddox and Carter-Smith agreed to forfeit all interest in any property which was derived from proceeds of the crimes to which the defendants pled guilty and to a forfeiture money judgment in an amount to be determined by the Court.
The plea agreements were negotiated by the office of United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe and the Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice, and accepted by Senior United States District Judge Robert Hinkle. Maddox and Carter-Smith will be sentenced on November 19, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.
"Public office is the highest form of public trust, and the pattern of criminal activity by these defendants violated the sacred trust of the people. When Maddox should have been looking out for the best interest of the citizens of Tallahassee, he was instead lining his own pocket with Carter-Smith’s help. This U.S. Attorney’s Office places the utmost priority on rooting out and pursuing public corruption, and will continue to do so in order to restore the public’s trust in its government and elected officials," Keefe said.
Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to one count each of honest services wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. In the statement of facts filed in support of his plea agreement, Maddox admits to having taken large sums of money in exchange for favorable actions on various issues that came before the City of Tallahassee. He participated in a scheme to defraud and deprive the City of Tallahassee and its citizens of its right to honest services through bribery. Carter-Smith admitted to participating with Maddox in these criminal acts.
A federal grand jury indicted Maddox and Carter-Smith in December, and a superseding indictment in May added defendant John Thomas Burnette in various counts.
"Abusing one's position for personal gain is a blatant disregard to the oath that every government employee takes," said Rachel L. Rojas of the FBI Jacksonville Division. "Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, and rooting them out is among the most complex, tedious and significant work that the FBI does for the American public. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work together to ensure those who commit fraud and corruption are brought to justice."
The guilty plea acknowledges the allegations contained in the indictment that Maddox and Carter-Smith conspired to operate two companies, Governance Inc. and Governance Services LLC, as one entity they referred to as "Governance." Governance was part of a racketeering enterprise that accepted bribes and extorted money from Governance clients under color of Maddox’s office through fear of the economic harm Maddox could inflict through his influential position as a City Commissioner. Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding a bank of more than $250,000 through two fraudulent short sales of real property, lying to federal agents about Governance and other matters, and violating federal tax laws by conspiring to interfere with the IRS and filing false tax returns.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case against Maddox and Carter-Smith was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen M. Kunz, Gary K. Milligan, and Andrew J. Grogan of the Northern District of Florida, and Trial Attorneys Simon J. Cataldo, Peter M. Nothstein, and Rosaleen T. O’Gara of the Department of Justice, Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.