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Former GOP head indicted on felony charges

Posted on June 03, 2010 3:00 AM EST

The individual previously picked to run the Republican Party in the State of Florida was formally charged yesterday with fraud. The former chairman of the party was arrested in his Central Florida home on several felony counts. The statewide prosecutor's office is prosecuting Jim Greer on four counts of grand theft, one count of operating an organized to defraud, and one count of money laundering. The allegations stem from a shell company Greer created to funnel political contributions for his own use. When the allegations came to light, Greer agreed to resign as the Republican's top man back in January. He is now facing up to 80 years in prison.

Greer's previous lawyer came forward defending his client's arrest. He was quoted as saying that the arrest was absolutely outrageous as 12 armed law enforcement agents stormed his residence, kept his family at bay, seized his computer and dragged him out of the house. It is not clear which criminal lawyer will defend the case in state criminal court. The indictment alleges that Greer set up a shell company called Victory Strategies. The Republican Party then hired Victory Strategies and agreed that Victory would keep 10% of the political donations that went to the Republican Party. The indictment further alleges that Greer's company siphoned off approximately $199,254.50 in 2009. Greer kept 60% of the proceeds while a silent minority owner kept the rest of the proceeds. The silent partner has not been indicted and may be cooperating with the authorities.

Greer is accused of spending the money to sustain his personal lifestyle. Two Republicans running for U.S. Congress are trying to cut ties with Greer. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio have been damaged to the point that their campaigns are in jeopardy as a result of their connection with Greer. In fact, Democrat Kendrick Meek issued a press statement regarding "Republican excess" right after the prosecution announced the criminal indictment of Greer. Greer denies all wrongdoing, and in fact, sued the Republican Party claiming they owed him for severance in the amount of $124,000.

The investigation into Greer's practices was initiated by Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for governor. At some point, McCollum reviewed the party audit and requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a fraud investigation. Whether the charges alleged against Greer are substantiated or not, the case has a lot of political underpinnings. Public corruption prosecutions have been popular over the past year in Miami and throughout the State of Florida. While most of the prosecutions seem to be legitimate, other are contrived for other reasons. Be that as it may, anyone being investigated or having been arrested for public corruption needs to contact a criminal defense law firm experienced in defending these types of matters.

Forrner Florida Republic Chief Charged with Fraud, Reuters.com, June 3, 2010.
Categories: Public Corruption