A hearing has been set for next Tuesday in the federal public corruption case against suspended Tallahassee city commissioner Scott Maddox who will now plead guilty to at least some of the charges against him.
As first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat a “change of plea hearing” was filed Wednesday on behalf of Maddox and co-defendant Paige Carter-Smith, a longtime political ally.
The change of plea hearing is set for next Tuesday at 10 a.m. before Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle.
“It really has been a black eye on the city of Tallahassee,” City Commissioner Curtis,,d Richardson, the only sitting commissioner who served alongside Maddox, told the Tallahassee Democrat.. “He could have saved us all of that for almost two years.”
Maddox and Carter-Smith were both been named in a 44-count indictment released in December by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Florida.
The indictment accused Maddox, 50, and Carter-Smith, 53, of conspiring to operate a racketeering enterprise that engaged in acts of bank fraud, extortion, honest services fraud, and bribery. The two are also charged with bank fraud, making false statements to financial institutions, extortion, honest services fraud, use of interstate facilities in furtherance of bribery, false statements to federal officers, conspiracy to interfere with the lawful function of the Internal Revenue Service, and filing false tax returns.
The charges carry the following maximum prison terms:
- 30 years: Bank Fraud, False Statements to a Financial Institution
- 20 years: Racketeering Conspiracy, Extortion and Honest Services Fraud
- 5 years: Use of Interstate Facilities in Furtherance of Bribery, Making False Statements to a Federal Officer, Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
- 3 years: False Statement on a Tax Return
The Democrat reports the guiIty pleas are “a possible signal that Maddox and Carter-Smith are cooperating with authorities to try to get their sentences reduced. If they are cooperating, it’s possible the FBI and prosecutors are building cases against other prominent politicians and business people.”
According to federal authorities, Maddox and Carter-Smith allegedly conspired to operate two companies, Governance, Inc., and Governance Services, LLC, as one entity they referred to as “Governance.” The indictment says Governance was part of a racketeering enterprise that was used by the two to extort money and accepted bribes from the company’s clients by using Maddox’s office and the “economic harm that Maddox could inflict in his position as an influential City Commissioner,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release issued when the indictments were handed down.
Maddox, a former Tallahassee mayor and chair of the Florida Democratic Party, was suspended in December by then-Gov. Rick Scott when the indictments were released.