Former Florida State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister indicted on bribery charges
FEB 26, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 1, 2021
LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCJB) -Former Third Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister, 52, of Live Oak is now indicted by a grand jury on bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and tax fraud charges.
In 2018 the FBI began investigating him following allegations of a bribery scheme. In December 2019, he suddenly resigned from his position of state attorney, with his lawyer saying he was working through a personal matter.
The indictment accuses Siegmeister of conspiring with defense attorney Marion O’steen of Dixie County between 2013 to 2019 to alter defendants’ charges or plea agreements in exchange for things of value. In one case, the attempted murder charge for one of O’steen’s clients was dismissed in exchange for the purchase of bulls from Siegmeister. Other cases involve the purchase of equipment, campaign contributions, and the payment of $60,000.
Federal prosecutors also accuse Siegmeister of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly man. He was appointed the legal guardian of a Columbia County man with physical and mental deficiencies. Then, he transferred money from the man’s trust and stock portfolio into his personal accounts. FBI agents allege he used much of the money to purchase a $325,000 home in Live Oak in 2015.
He is also facing tax fraud charges for allegedly reporting his total income as less than it actually was from 2016 through 2018.
The government is seeking federal forfeitures for all the money involved in the alleged bribes and wire fraud, as well as 7,372 shares of Coca-Cola stock, and two properties.
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
|One||5 years’ imprisonment|
|Two/Three||20 years’ imprisonment|
|Four (O’Steen)||5 years’ imprisonment|
|Five (Siegmeister)||5 years’ imprisonment|
|Six (Siegmeister)||10 years’ imprisonment|
|20 years’ imprisonment
3 years’ imprisonment
Florida Supreme Court holds north Florida ex-State Attorney Siegmeister in contempt
MAR 20, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 21, 2021
The Florida Supreme Court has held Lake City’s former top prosecutor in contempt and ordered his law license suspended indefinitely.
The court also told Jeffrey Alan Siegmeister to pay The Florida Bar $1,250 “for recovery of administrative costs,” according to its Friday order.
Siegmeister never replied to the court’s Dec. 22 demand to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for his earlier “failure to respond to an official bar inquiry,” records show.
He was indicted on charges of conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud and tax crimes involving deals to settle court cases in Florida’s 3rd Judicial Circuit.
The 52-year-old was arrested earlier this year in Arizona on charges mostly rooted in his conduct as the elected prosecutor in 2013-19 for the sprawling rural district covering Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties.
M. Michael O’Steen, 41, a Dixie County attorney, was also indicted on conspiracy and extortion charges and pleaded not guilty in Jacksonville’s federal court.
The two were accused of a set of crimes that included arranging payments in 2017 and 2018 to close criminal cases, including an attempted murder prosecution.
Siegmeister, first admitted to practice law in Florida in 1994, was named in 11 counts and O’Steen in four in the 12-count indictment. Both could face prison sentences lasting decades.