Senator Pleads Guilty

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells



Former state senator sentenced
By JEFFREY SAULTON // Jan. 16, 2008:

HUNTINGTON — A former state senator who represented Jackson County was sentenced Tuesday after she pleaded guilty to one of 17 charges brought against her in U.S. District Court in Huntington.

Former Fourth District senator Lisa D. Smith, R-Putnam, of Scott Depot was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $943,632.32 to the Internal Revenue Service after pleading guilty to willful failure to pay employment taxes and mail fraud. The Fourth District covers all of Jackson, Putnam and Mason counties and the northwest area of Roane County.

Smith was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. “Chuck” Chambers in Huntington.

Smith’s husband, Mark K. Smith, was sentenced to five years probation with six months electronic monitoring and ordered to pay restitution of $358,855 to the IRS. They pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to Federal Employment Tax violations and mail fraud relating to their health care service business.

Smith was facing a 16-count indictment in the case handed down by a January 2006 federal grand jury meeting in Charleston. She pleaded guilty under an agreement with federal prosecutors.

Smith admitted she failed to pay the IRS money withheld for taxes from her employees’ wages in 2002 from two in-home health care companies, Elite Professional Health Associates and Elite Health Care Inc., officials said. They each owned 50 percent of the companies.

Her husband pleaded guilty to one count of failure to pay employment taxes from the companies due in 2004.

While running for the Senate in 2002, Smith also admitted she mailed a false campaign finance statement to state election officials. According to court documents and federal prosecutors, the statement falsely reported Lisa Smith received campaign contributions from 20 individuals who did not make contributions.

Smith served two terms in the House of Delegates when she challenged and defeated then-Senate Finance Chairman Oshel Craigo, D-Putnam, in a 2002 upset in the Fourth Senatorial District. She resigned in December 2004, citing an undisclosed illness. Smith’s seat is now held by Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, who was elected to the state Senate in 2006. He was a delegate from 1994 to 2006.

Smith’s case was delayed after she was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. After receiving treatment at a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, Chambers declared her competent in March.

Officials from the IRS said the crimes Smith committed are taken seriously by the government.

“The IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Office take these violations of law very seriously,” said Charles A. Jenkins, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation in the Pittsburgh field office. “Employment tax fraud can impact employees, who may see future benefits such as Social Security, Medicare or unemployment compensation reduced or eliminated because of their employers not complying with the law.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Contact Jeffrey Saulton at jsaulton@newsandsentinel.com

 

 




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