Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall resigns, faces federal plea deal
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall abruptly resigned following a federal investigation for wire fraud.
In a plea agreement Hall acknowledges she embezzled more than $33,000 from her 2010 campaign fund for her own personal use, paying her mortgage and charge card after shopping sprees at high-end stores like Nordstroms, Saks Fifth Avenue and Club Monaco.
Florida election law states candidates cannot use campaign money to defray normal living expenses.
Hall also acknowledges she filed false treasury reports with the state elections office to hide she'd transferred money from -- and written checks on -- the campaign bank account, along with depositing checks meant for the campaign directly into her personal account. All of it happening in the high-campaign season -- between November of 2009 and November of 2010. That's when she was re-elected to the Lee County Commission.
The plea agreement also states Hall claimed to use some of the money for advertising and public relations. And when agents interviewed her at her home in February, they say she affirmed that, calling her statements deceptive.
All facts Hall has acknowledged and initialed.
The 19-page document, in short, stating Tammy Hall defrauded campaign donors to pay for her personal expenses.
"You can't feel good when you hear news like this because it's always a black eye to government in general. Something like this is an embarrassment and a detraction to positive movement in government, " commissioner Frank Mann tells FOX 4.
In return, Hall must pay those donors back.
She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Although Hall agrees she violated state elections law, the bank transfers happened at banking hubs across state lines in North Carolina and Alabama. That's why the feds got involved.
Her first appearance before a judge in federal court is October 3rd.
Not having been taken into custody, she is expected to plead guilty that day and accept the terms of the agreement.
Hall's resignation is effective Tuesday at 5 pm.