TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee city commissioner Scott Maddox and Downtown Improvement Authority Executive Director Janice Paige Carter-Smith have been indicted on federal racketeering charges.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, 50-year-old Maddox and 53-year-old Carter-Smith have been indicted on 44 counts for "conspiring to operate a racketeering enterprise" that allegedly participated in bank fraud, extortion, honest services fraud and bribery.
Both are also charged with bank fraud and filing false tax returns.
Officials say they operated two companies, Governance Inc. and Governance Services, LLC, as one entity they referred to as "Governance."
Documents say that Governance was established by Maddox while he was served as Tallahassee mayor from 1997 to 2003. In 2012, Maddox won a seat on the city commission and told the then city attorney that he had sold Governance and was divesting himself of the business.
However, federal agents allege Maddox continued to control and profit from Governance while he served as a city commissioner for six years.
The indictment says Carter-Smith started working with Maddox at Governance in 2003 and had previously served as his chief of staff when he was mayor. In 2007, Carter-Smith formed Governance Services, LLC and three years later, became the owner of Governance.
From that point forward, federal agents say she managed both Governance and Governance Services at Maddox's direction and lied about his involvement in the business when questioned.
Through Governance, federal officials say Maddox and Carter-Smith extorted money and accepted bribes from clients. The indictment alleges that Maddox used vote to make decisions that benefited he and Carter-Smith's business.
According to the charges, Maddox and Carter-Smith also lied to the FBI about Maddox's affiliation with Governance. During the commission of the crimes, federal officials say they both lied to a Florida Commission on Ethics investigators about Maddox's ties to Governance.
The indictment further alleges that Maddox and Carter-Smith defrauded a bank of more than $250,000 through two fraudulent property short sales involving a two-story office building on West Carolina Avenue and a house on North Adams Street.
The two are also accused of violating federal tax laws by interfering with the IRS and filing false tax returns.
They could be facing a maximum of 30 years for bank fraud and false statements to a financial institution, 20 years for racketeering conspiracy, extortion and honest services fraud, five years for use of interstate facilities in furtherance of bribery, making false statements to a federal officer, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, and three years for false statements on a tax return.
Their first appearance was Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.
A trial date has been set for Jan. 10.
Tallahassee mayor John Dailey weighed in on Maddox's indictment:
"This is unsettling news, and I trust the legal system will set matters straight. We are committed to operating with full transparency and holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards. I hope this matter is resolved quickly for everyone involved. In the meantime, we at the City of Tallahassee will work to move our community forward with a focus on providing high quality services to our residents."
You can view the full indictment documents here.