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Commissioner Hall resigns, to plead guilty to wire fraud

By Staff | Sep 23, 2013

Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and has resigned her seat on the elected board.

Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced the charge and plea agreement filed with the United States District Court on Monday.

Hall, 53, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

She is accused of diverting more than $33,000 from a campaign account set up for her 2010 re-election bid and spending those funds on personal purchases and expenses.

An initial appearance and acceptance of plea hearing is set for Oct. 3, at 1:30 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Frazier.

According to the plea agreement, from November 2009 to November 2010 while running for re-election to her District 4 seat on the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, Hall “diverted and embezzled approximately $33,756 of donor contributions to the Tammy Hall campaign fund, and used the money for personal expenditures unrelated to the campaign.”

According to a prepared statement from the Department of Justice issued Monday, Hall “completed Florida Department of State campaign fund quarterly reports and failed to disclose that she had diverted campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses.”

“She falsely represented the nature of the expenditures, which she made for personal purposes, or omitted certain campaign contribution checks from the quarterly reports. Hall stole from her campaign fund by transferring funds electronically from the campaign bank account to her personal bank account, by writing checks from the campaign bank account and depositing the checks to her personal bank account, and by depositing certain donor campaign contribution checks directly into her personal bank account. Hall used interstate wires to accomplish the electronic transfer of funds from her campaign account to her personal account at Wachovia Bank,” the release states.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.

According to a release from Lee County, Hall announced her resignation from the Board of County Commissioners on Monday. The release states her resignation will be effective as of Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m.

Chairman Cecil Pendergrass will notify Gov. Rick Scott’s office immediately and ask him to appoint someone to fill the seat until the general election in November, 2014.

Hall represents District 4, which includes North Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

Sources: Department of Justice, Middle District of Florida, and Lee County