Public Corruption

Herman Law discusses a former Tallahassee mayor's recent charge of public corruption.

Public corruption is a white collar crime. It occurs when there has been a breach of public trust or an abuse of power by a government official. The abuse of power or breach of public trust happens when the elected official solicits or accepts the receipt of something of value in return for influence when they are performing their official government duties. It is a serious offense and a top investigative priority of the FBI. This is because public corruption can jeopardize things like national security, the integrity of the justice system, and the safety of U.S. streets. The penalties associated with a public corruption charge are severe. This is not to mention the other consequences such a charge can have on your personal and professional life.

Tallahassee City Commissioner Pleads Guilty to Three Counts of Public Corruption

Former Tallahassee Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox pleaded guilty to three charges of public corruption. Some are confident that even more indictments will follow. Maddox and his long-time business partner, Paige Carter-Smith, had dealings not just in Tallahassee, but across the state of Florida. This means that prosecutors may cast a wide net in who else may be implicated in the corruption charges.

Maddox and Carter-Smith are charged with trading official action and influence for money with companies contracting to do business with the City of Tallahassee. Newly elected City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has made it clear that the contracts with these businesses will be cancelled and the city will start over. Maddox served as a city commissioner from 1993 to 2003. He went on to become more involved with his firm Governance, Inc., but again won a seat on the commission in 2012. At this time, he claimed he had sold Governance, Inc. firm when in fact he was funneling cash accepted from city vendors through Governance and Governance Services, a related firm.

Two of the businesses involved in the scandal, Uber Technology and Waste Pro USA, have come forward and made it clear that they intend to fully cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation. The companies involved allegedly paid Governance a minimum of $544,000 between the years of 2012 and 2017. However, the charges Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to involve much smaller amounts. The deal the two reached with federal prosecutors will also mean that charges relating to some companies would be dropped at sentencing. Racketeering charges and several dozen other charges are also to be dropped as part of the plea deal.

The charges Maddox and Carter-Smith have pleaded guilty to, including honest services wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the government, carry a maximum combined prison term of 45 years. If they cooperate with federal prosecutors, the sentence may be less. Additionally, they will have to forfeit all ill-gotten property. Their personal money, however, cannot be recovered, according to their signed statements.

Florida White Collar Crime Attorney

The government takes public corruption seriously. The case against Maddox and Carter-Smith was built up for years and years. The sheer volume of resources that have been expended in this kind of investigation shows just how serious suspicions of public corruption are taken. If you are being investigated for public corruption or are facing public corruption charges, you need dedicated legal counsel by your side right away. Attorney Ron Herman has the experience with these types of situations you need. He will vigorously defend you against all charges. Contact us today.