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Sentences handed down for Scott Maddox, Paige Carter-Smith

Each will report to their detention facilities on Nov. 9.
Former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his longtime associate Paige Carter-Smith will be...
Former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his longtime associate Paige Carter-Smith will be sentenced in federal court at noon Thursday.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 11:36 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his longtime associate Paige Carter-Smith were sentenced in federal court on Thursday.

Maddox was sentenced to five years while Carter-Smith was given a two-year sentence.

Maddox was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $76,763; Carter-Smith was ordered to pay $115,619. Both were also ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $70,000.

There was no reaction in the courtroom when the judge read the sentences, but there were a lot of tears during the rest of the hearing.

Maddox spoke directly to the judge, saying, “When I listen to my voice on those recordings, I’m deeply ashamed.”

He says he tried to do the right thing by pleading guilty.

“I deserve everything I get,” he said.

Carter-Smith also teared up when speaking to the judge, speaking after her two children made please for leniency.

Carter-Smith says she knew better and said she was in the wrong.

“I allowed my heart, the bills I had to pay and everything else blur the line,” she said.

Both apologized for their actions in the courtroom. They’ll report to their detention facilities on November 9.

Longtime City Hall critic Erwin Jackson was present at the sentencing.

“I appreciate the decision by the court to confirm corruption exists. This is a step in the right direction. I spent ten years. I think Scott probably should’ve gotten the same,” Jackson said. “I think Scott’s probably learned a lesson.”

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey released a statement on the sentences.

The public trust was violated for personal gain and our entire community has suffered. The self-servings acts of a few have clouded our city for too long. Since I was elected, we have passed the most comprehensive and strongest ethics reform package in our city’s history.

We’ve banned all gifts from lobbyists and vendors, required full financial disclosures, established an Inspector General’s office, and implemented whistleblower protections. We are committed to the hard work of healing our community and rebuilding the public trust as we move forward.

John Dailey, Mayor of Tallahassee

The Department of Justice sent a press release with statements from multiple agencies involved in the case.

“Today’s sentences are a result of our tireless efforts to pursue justice for those who put their trust in their elected representatives. We will never cease working to ensure that both public officials who fail the citizens of their community by accepting bribes, and those who pay bribes, are held accountable.”

Kenneth A. Polite Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Justice Department’s Criminal Division

“The democratic system on which our country was founded relies on the consent and trust of the governed. Our citizens deserve and expect that their elected representatives will honor their oath - acting in the public’s interest, rather than accepting bribes and payments out of fear or favor. Today’s sentences acknowledge betrayal of the public trust, the resulting erosion of confidence in our democratic process, and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would seek to illegally profit from public service. With our law enforcement partners, we remain committed to ensuring that anyone who violates the public’s trust is held accountable.”

Jason R. Coody, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida

“The individuals sentenced today abused Maddox’s public office for their own private gain. Actions like this erode the trust that Americans place in our governmental institutions, and the FBI will not tolerate such contemptable disregard of public’s trust by elected officials who promise to serve them. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the government’s integrity by bringing corrupt officials and their cohorts, like Maddox and Carter-Smith, to justice, and we will never stop working to uncover others who think they are beyond the reach of the law.”

Calvin A. Shivers, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division

“Maddox and Carter-Smith brazenly filed fraudulent tax returns to cheat the government, perhaps because they thought their political ties made them above the law. Those Americans who file accurate, honest, and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don’t.”

Brian Payne, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation

Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud, one count of honest services mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud. The two testified they had accepted bribes in exchange for official City of Tallahassee acts.

In the original indictment, each faced 44 counts.

Maddox was an attorney and City Commissioner, while Carter-Smith was the Executive Director of the Downtown Improvement Authority.

Both testified as government witnesses during the July 2021 trial of Tallahassee businessman JT Burnette.

JT Burnette was found guilty of five of the nine counts against him; he will be sentenced on Oct. 28.

Below is a full timeline of events covering the FBI investigation.

  • 2015: FBI investigation into Tallahassee development deals begins
  • August 2015: Undercover FBI agents arrive in Tallahassee and begin meeting with Maddox/JT Burnette
  • November 2016: FBI front company begins sending checks to Maddox company “Governance”, run by Carter-Smith
  • December 2016: Undercover agents fly Maddox and JT Burnette to Las Vegas
  • June 2017: Two federal subpoenas for development documents served at Tallahassee City Hall
  • September 2017: Third subpoena, naming Scott Maddox, served at City Hall
    • Photos surface of Maddox with undercover FBI agents
  • December 2018: Scott Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith indicted on 44 counts
    • Gov. Rick Scott suspends Maddox from City Commission
  • May 2019: JT Burnette indicted
  • August 2019: Maddox, Carter-Smith plead guilty to two honest services fraud counts and one tax fraud conspiracy count
    • They agree to testify against JT Burnette
  • October 2019: Superseding indictment adds to charges against Burnette
  • November 2019: Florida Supreme Court disbars Maddox
  • July 2021: Maddox/Carter-Smith testify in JT Burnette trial
  • August 2021: Burnette convicted of five counts: extortion, two counts of honest services mail fraud, and two counts of lying to the FBI
  • September 2021: Maddox/Carter-Smith sentenced
  • October 2021: Burnette to be sentenced

This is a developing story. WCTV will deliver updates as our reporters gather the latest information.

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