Monday, March 01, 2021

Former State Attorney Indicted For Extortion As Part Of Conspiracy With Defense Attorney, As Well As Bribery, Wire Fraud, And Filing False Tax Returns (USDOJ press release)

The long arm. of the law reached out to Arizona and nabbed a corrupt lawman, JEFFREY SIEGMEISTER of Live Oak, former state's Attorney, for bribery, conspiracy, fraud and filing false tax returns. I saw nothing on this in GANNETT's incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record.  From USDOJ:

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Friday, February 26, 2021

Former State Attorney Indicted For Extortion As Part Of Conspiracy With Defense Attorney, As Well As Bribery, Wire Fraud, And Filing False Tax Returns

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Jeffrey Siegmeister (52, Live Oak) and Marion Michael O’Steen (41, Old Town) with conspiracy to use a facility of commerce for unlawful activity, conspiracy to commit extortion, and aiding and abetting extortion. Siegmeister is additionally charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns. O’Steen is additionally charged with failure to file a form in connection with the receipt of currency. [See Penalties Chart at bottom of release]

Siegmeister was arrested in Arizona today, and will make his initial appearance in federal court (Flagstaff, AZ) on Monday, March 1. O’Steen appeared in federal court (Jacksonville, FL) today and pleaded not guilty. He was released on a $100,000 bond.

According to the indictment, Siegmeister was the elected State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida from 2013 through 2019, and O’Steen was a defense attorney who represented clients being prosecuted by Siegmeister’s office. As part of the conspiracy to use a facility of commerce for unlawful activity, between approximately November 2017 and May 16, 2019, O’Steen requested official acts from Siegmeister—including the favorable disposition of charges filed against his clients, and the delay of official actions in order to enable O’Steen to obtain additional “fees” from at least one of his clients—for which Siegmeister solicited bribes from O’Steen.

Regarding the extortion charges, O’Steen solicited Siegmeister to resolve a case against one of his clients through pre-trial intervention (“PTI”). O’Steen demanded $60,000 from that client in order to procure the PTI agreement from the State Attorney’s Office. O’Steen and Siegmeister then coordinated to withhold the finalization of the PTI agreement until the client paid $60,000 in cash to O’Steen. In connection with this case, Siegmeister solicited O’Steen to purchase a bull from a herd of livestock he owned for $4,000, and to make a political contribution.

Additionally, O’Steen is charged with failing to file within 15 days the required Form 8300 with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to acknowledge his receipt of more than $10,000 in cash from the client.

Siegmeister is separately charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and federal program bribery in connection with another prosecution by the State Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial Circuit. According to the indictment, Ernest Maloney Page, IV, was a defense attorney representing a client charged with two Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) offenses.  The client’s family owned a tractor dealership. In or around September 2017, Siegmeister informed Page that he would favorably resolve one of the client’s DUI charges in exchange for a $10,000 discount on a tractor Siegmeister wanted to buy from the client’s dealership, and favorably resolve both DUI charges in exchange for a $20,000 discount. Ultimately, Siegmeister and his wife purchased a tractor and accessories from the client’s dealership, the price of which Page’s client discounted by approximately $20,000.  In exchange, Siegmeister dismissed the DUI charges and Page’s client pleaded guilty to charges of reckless driving with alcohol and refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test. On August 20, 2020, Page pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery for his role in facilitating this transaction. 

Siegmeister is also charged with wire fraud in connection with his legal guardianship of an elderly individual who lived in Columbia County. According to the indictment, from approximately January 2010 through April 2016, Siegmeister engaged in a scheme to defraud his ward and his ward’s estate by, among other things, transferring the victim’s assets for his own benefit, filing materially false documents with the court to conceal those transfers, and by creating a Last Will and Testament for the victim which designated Siegmeister’s relative as the sole beneficiary of the victim’s estate. 

Siegmeister is also charged with filing false tax returns for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelly S. Karase and David B. Mesrobian

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