In keeping with the recent spate of theft of child support related funds by those charged with overseeing the massive cash pile, comes a story out of South Carolina.
Elizabeth Smith, now “former” Beaufort County Clerk of Courts, has agreed to plead guilty in Federal Court to “misusing” (see: STEALING) federal child support enforcement funds. The South Carolina Supreme Court has also revoked Elizabeth Smith’s law license as part of the penalties forthcoming. In the plea agreement, Smith pleaded guilty to one count of conversion of public money, according to federal court records.
From the article Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet website article Former Court Clerk Pleads Guilty to Federal Misuse-of-Funds Charge:
Smith was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in September for writing five unauthorized checks worth $338,500 in federal child-support funds to pay her husband’s salary while he oversaw the Beaufort County Drug Court between January 2006 and June 2009, according to the indictment.
Shocker. One government official stealing from the public till to pay her husband, another government official. The prosecuting United States Attorney, Winston Holliday reportedly will recommend that Elizabeth Smith serve up to 10 years in prison and pay a $250,000 fine as prescribed in federal law. That makes sense. A $250,000 fine for stealing nearly $400,000 in funds.
That wasn’t all of her thievery, though…
A Beaufort County jury in September found Smith guilty of writing checks worth $23,500 from public accounts to help pay for insurance premiums for relatives and a vacation home on Pawleys Island.
Smith was sentenced to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service and was indicted the next day by a federal grand jury.
These types of events are not unusual for government entitlement programs. Where there is a tremendous flow of money flowing into a government agency and the usual ineffective level of oversight that is often associated with them, corruption, theft, and “misuse of funds” is sure to follow.
See also: Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division Corruption