Former county commissioner Hall pleads guilty
A recently resigned Lee County commissioner entered a plea of guilty Thursday to federal charges.
Tammara “Tammy” Ann Hall, 53, of Cape Coral, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Frazier. The plea was part of an agreement made with federal prosectors.
“She pleaded guilty to the information that we had filed,” Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Michelland, who is handling the case, said Friday.
Hall faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, along with a fine of not more than $250,000 and not more than three years of supervised release, according to court documents.
On Thursday, an unsecured appearance bond of $50,000 was set.
“There was not a risk of flight,” Michelland said. “She came voluntarily to court.”
Hall was ordered by the court to turn over her passport and a firearm that she had in her home.
“She’s able to travel throughout Florida,” he said.
A sentencing date had not been set Friday.
Michelland noted that the sentencing is likely about three months out.
“Probation has to do a pre-sentence investigation report, where they do their own investigation,” he said, adding that investigators conduct interviews with the prosecution, defense and defendant.
“It lays out her background, the nature of the offense, the facts and circumstances of the offense,” Michelland said.
The report will ultimately recommend a guideline range for sentencing, which the judge considers.
Pre-sentence investigation reports are typically completed within 60 days.
Attorney Eric Padron is representing Hall.
He nor Hall returned messages seeking comment Friday.
On Sept. 23, Hall submitted her resignation from the Lee County Board of County Commissioners – the same day that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced that she faced charges and had entered into a deal. Hall had been the District 4 commissioner since November 2004.
According to court documents, she was running for re-election as a Lee County commissioner in the 2010 election. From November 2009 to November 2010, she diverted and embezzled about $33,756 of donor contributions to the Tammy Hall campaign fund and used the money for personal expenditures.
Hall spent the money on mortgage payments to Bank of America and to cover American Express purchases made at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Mark Loren Designs and Club Monaco.
Hall completed state campaign fund reports and failed to disclose that she had diverted campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses, the documents state. She falsely represented the nature of the expenditures or omitted certain campaign contribution checks from the state campaign reports.
Hall transferred funds from the campaign bank account to her personal account, wrote checks from the campaign account and deposited them into her personal account, and deposited certain donor campaign contributions directly into her personal account.
According to the documents, FBI agents interviewed Hall in February 2012. She made deceptive statements, where she claimed that she never took money from her campaign account to support her personal lifestyle. She said all of the money she took was reimbursement for campaign expenses.
Gov. Rick Scott is charged with filling the vacancy left behind by Hall’s resignation.
As of Friday, his office had received 26 applications for the District 4 seat.
“There is no timeline for an appointment to be made,” spokesman John Tupps previously said.
Among the pool of applicants are Andy Coy, Brian Hamman, Debbie Jordan and Don Stilwell – all four intend to campaign for the seat in the November 2014 election. Two remaining announced candidates for the seat, Josh McGrail and Larry Murphy, had not applied for the governor’s appointment as of Friday.