Ohio State Representative Clayton R. Luckie II Indicted on 49 Counts
|FBI Cincinnati October 10, 2012|
COLUMBUS, OH—Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien today announced that the Franklin County Grand Jury has returned and filed a 49-count indictment against Clayton R. Luckie II, who is a member of the Ohio General Assembly. Luckie is a state representative who represents the 39th Ohio House District in Dayton.
Hanko and O’Brien said that this indictment is the result of a continuing investigation by FBI special agents in the Columbus office that began 18 months ago, focused on the issue of payday lending legislation in the Ohio General Assembly. The investigation previously resulted in the arrest, conviction, and three-year prison sentence of former Columbus-area State Representative Carlton Weddington for bribery, election falsification, and ethics violations.
“The community deserves honest and accountable public officials,” stated Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko. “The FBI will continue to identify and investigate cases of political corruption. In fact, our office has recently created a new public corruption squad in Columbus to further investigate potential unlawful activity in this area.”
Luckie first took office in the House of Representatives in 2006, and in August of this year withdrew from the November 2012 ballot when he acknowledged the existence of this investigation.
O’Brien said that the indictment alleges that the first document filed with the Secretary of State’s office in 2006, after Luckie announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives, was the Designation of Treasurer for his campaign committee and that document contained the forged signature of the purported treasurer for the committee. Thereafter, each and every campaign finance filing with the Secretary of State’s office filed by Luckie between 2006 and 2012 failed to accurately list expenditures made by his campaign committee. Those false filings account for over 20 counts of election falsification. The falsification includes failing to report hundreds of expenditures that were made from the campaign fund and also falsely reporting expenditures that did not exist.
At different times it is alleged that Luckie presented to the Secretary of State bogus or non-existent invoices or receipts to support expenditures, as well responding to audit letters from the Secretary of State that sought a cancelled check or paid invoice for a previously filed expenditure by creating and filing a false invoice in whole or part. One such filing is alleged to have occurred in April 2012, after the FBI had interviewed Luckie on these subjects, thus constituting tampering with evidence, where the prior filing is tampering with records.
The indictment also alleges theft in office on the basis that between 2006 and 2012 almost $130,000 was diverted from the Luckie campaign committee to personal checking accounts controlled by Luckie, cash withdrawals (169 ATM and other cash withdrawals that total almost $19,000), checks written to himself ( otaling $9,825), and hundreds of debit card transactions on his campaign account (800 debit card transactions that total almost $40,000), three campaign checks deposited directly into his personal account, which were not reported on the campaign finance committee filings with the Secretary of State and were not legitimate and verifiable campaign or office expenses. A selection of those transactions are identified in the indictment that include over $1,700 in cash withdrawals at Indiana, Florida and West Virginia casinos; an $1,800 online transfer from his campaign fund to make a home equity line of credit payment to a bank; and debit card transactions in amounts that total between $106.99 and $1,322.27 at several retail businesses.
Twelve specific transactions in which Luckie transferred funds to himself or his bank account are identified and charged as instances of money laundering where an illegal act (theft of the campaign funds) is part of a transaction designed to hide the source of the funds in an apparent legal financial transaction or to further corrupt activity.
A separate theft in office count involves a $625 check made out to the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) that Luckie deposited into his personal account, rather than turning it over to that group where the check had been obtained by Luckie to support the OLBC annual golf outing in 2011.
The most serious charge contained in the indictment is engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, commonly referred to as a RICO charge, in which it is alleged that Luckie used his office and the campaign committee in order to commit a series of unlawful predicate crimes such as theft in office, money laundering, and tampering with records, in order to establish, facilitate or carry on a series of illegal and corrupt acts. That charge is a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison.
Finally, the indictment alleges that Luckie filed a false financial disclosure form with the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (JLEC) when he failed to list and disclose four separate loans of debts that exceeded $1,000.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Clayton Luckie and his attorney notified of the indictment. It is expected that Luckie will surrender on that warrant and be arraigned later this week.
For questions, please contact Christy McCreary with Prosecutor O’Brien’s office at 614-525-3555, or FBI Media Coordinator Todd Lindgren at 513-979-8347.
The public is reminded that indictments contain only allegations of criminal misconduct and that defendants are presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.