Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Corrupt NE Florida State's Attorney Pleads Guilty to conspiracy, extortion, fraud and tax cheating

The long arm of the law reached down and indicted, arrested and convicted a Republican North Florida State's Atttorney on corruption charges.  

No, dear readers, t'was not  7th Circuit State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA. 

It was JEFFREY SEIGMEISTER, disgraced 3rd Circuit State's Attorney from Lake City.

Louche local lawmen like LARIZZA and former Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, who legally changed his name from "HOAR" : ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.  

What's next? 

Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

From Florida Times-Union:

Lake City State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister takes plea in corruption case

Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

February 22, 2022

Ex-State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister in 2015.Ex-State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister in 2015.

Former North Florida State Attorney  Jeff Siegmeister pleaded guilty Tuesday to crimes involving conspiracy, extortion, fraud and tax-cheating while he was the elected prosecutor for a seven-county area.

In his  plea dealSiegmeister admitted crimes both in his post at Florida’s 3rd Judicial Circuit and in his private life, where he took money from accounts of a man a court had made him guardian over.

The 53-year-old Republican, who held office from 2013 to 2019, entered his plea in return for prosecutors dropping other parts of an  indictment involving bribery and extorting people awaiting prosecution in his circuit, which reached from Lake City to the Georgia border and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?” U.S. Magistrate  Joel Toomey asked Siegmeister, who answered “yes, sir.”

Facing up to 48 years in prison and $1 million in fines under his plea deal, Siegmesiter agreed to help federal prosecutors who had also charged a co-defendant, Dixie County defense attorney Marion Michael O’Steen.

Siegmeister and O’Steen had been scheduled to stand trial together next month on an indictment filed a year ago that described crime suspects arranging financial deals to avoid trial on charges ranging from DUI to attempted murder.

Internet cafe operator had sued Siegmeister and O’ December.

An internet cafĂ© operator whom Siegmeister admitted conspiring to extort had already  sued Siegmeister and O’Steen in December.

Businessman Andy Tong argued in his lawsuit that Siegmeister used his position as state attorney “to solicit, accept and agree to accept a bribe in return for a favorable disposition” of a charge against Tong of keeping a gambling house.

Tong’s suit said he “had valid defenses to the charges and believed his game room did not violate Florida’s gambling law,” but fired his original lawyer and hired O’Steen because Siegmeister threatened to throw the book at him otherwise.

Prosecutors had said Tong ultimately paid O’Steen $60,000. At a hearing last month, Toomey was told Tong’s original lawyer, Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, was expected to be called as a prosecution witness.

Outside of his role as state attorney, Siegmeister also pleaded guilty to wire fraud for misusing assets of an elderly man over whom he had guardianship. Referred to the plea deal only as L.T., the old man was identified in a  different court action action as Leonard Whitman Thomas, who had stock holdings worth about $665,000 when Siegmeister became his guardian and who died in 2015 at age 85.

The plea acknowledged a check worth $313,816 was deposited into a bank account that Siegmeister controlled.

Siegmeister also pleaded guilty to filing a false 2015 tax return, the first of three years for which that charge had been filed.

Siegmeister agreed to make restitution but Toomey said the amount would be decided at his sentencing, which wasn't immediately scheduled.

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