Arkansas treasurer charged with extortion

Martha Shoffner is accused of taking at least $36,000 from a broker who invested state money

Topics: Arkansas, Martha Shoffner, extortion, Political corruption, Democrats,

Arkansas treasurer charged with extortion (Credit: DenisNata via Shutterstock)

Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner was arrested and charged with extortion over the weekend for allegedly accepting multiple $6,000 payments from a local broker who invested state money.

The Arkansas Times reports that over time, Shoffner, a Democrat, allegedly accepted at least $36,000, according to an affidavit filed in federal court on Monday:

Shoffner was busted Saturday after receiving the latest in a series of $6,000 payments from a confidential source wired by the FBI (an unidentified securities dealer apparently given immunity from prosecution for cooperation). The source told the FBI he had paid Shoffner a total of $36,000 in six payments every six months, plus almost $5,000 in cash for a campaign event, in return for an increasing share of the state bond business.

Shoffner got several of the payments rolled up and sealed in a pie box.

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“(The broker) began receiving more of the state’s bond business after he/she began paying Shoffner $6,000 cash every six months,” the affidavit said, according to the Associated Press. The broker “recognized his/her bond business with the state grew because of the payments he/she made to Shoffner.”

The Arkansas Times reports that Shoffner appeared in federal court on Monday and was released on her own recognizance.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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