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Former prosecutor sentenced for bribery, extortion, fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A former state attorney in north Florida has been sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison for participating in a bribery and extortion scheme.

Jeffrey Siegmeister, 54, of Live Oak, was sentenced Monday in Jacksonville federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to use a facility of commerce for bribery and extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Siegmeister must also forfeit $518,803.30, which are proceeds of the wire fraud offense.

From 2013 through 2019, Siegmeister was the elected state attorney for the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Florida, covering the counties of Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor.

According to court documents, Siegmeister conspired with defense attorney Marion Michael O’Steen, who represented clients being prosecuted by Siegmeister’s office, federal prosecutors said. Between November 2017 to May 2019, Siegmeister solicited bribes from O’Steen in exchange for the favorable disposition of charges filed against his clients, officials said.

In one case, Siegmeister helped O’Steen extort $60,000 from a client by withholding a pre-trial intervention agreement, investigators said. O’Steen was sentenced Monday to three years and eight months in federal prison for extorting a client and for failing to file a form with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

In a separate case, Siegmeister told defense attorney Ernest Maloney Page IV in September 2017 that he would dismiss two DUI charges for one of Page’s clients in exchange for a $20,000 discount on a tractor Siegmeister wanted to buy from the client’s dealership, officials said. Siegmeister later bought the discounted tractor and allowed the client to plead guilty to reckless driving with alcohol and refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test, prosecutors said. Page received six months in prison in September after pleading guilty in 2020 to conspiring to commit bribery.

Additionally, from approximately January 2010 through April 2016, Siegmeister engaged in a scheme to defraud an elderly person under his legal guardianship, prosecutors said. Siegmeister transferred the victim’s assets to himself and created a will for the victim that designated Siegmeister’s relative as the sole beneficiary of the victim’s estate, officials said.

The Associated Press