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Another SC Higher Education Scam

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PLEA DEAL REACHED IN “MANUFACTURING ASSISTANCE” SCANDAL 

|| By FITSNEWS ||  The former director of a University of South Carolina “economic development” center has signed a plea deal with federal prosecutors after she was busted scamming grant money from the federal government.

Gail Shurling – former director of the USC Center for Manufacturing and Technology (CMAT) – “used her position at the University of South Carolina to enrich herself, friends and family members,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Specifically, Shurling “created fraudulent in-kind letters from companies owned by friends and family members, which documented work that was not performed” in an effort to capture funding for her center.

How much fraud are we talking about?  According to the government, Shurling “submitted and caused to be submitted approximately $336,000 of documentation for work and services that were not completed.”

Ouch …

The money was routed to CMAT from the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) – an organization which has received millions of tax dollars from the U.S. Department of Commerce in the name of providing “manufacturing support.”

In 2009, federal auditors blew the whistle on the scam – urging the government to recoup $1.1 million in funds send to SCMEP (while challenging another $2.3 million in expenditures).  The money was routed from SCMEP to the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Greenville Technical College and the South Carolina Export Consortium – part of the liberal S.C. Chamber of Commerce.

Ironically, Shurling complained to McClathy reporter James Rosen in 2009 about being forced to use a new accounting system to handle the SCMEP money her center received.

“We’ve had to completely change the accounting system that’s used on 1,600 other federal grants,” Shurling told Rosen. “We just thought it was the most bizarre thing in the world.”

Sheesh … what does that say about USC’s accounting system?

Anyway …

Once again, we reject any taxpayer funding being routed to higher ed – especially this sort of “economic development” nonsense.

“Manufacturing support” – or support for any other industry – is simply not a core function of government.

To view the documents related to this case, click on the links below …

PLEA AGREEMENT (.pdf)
INFORMATION (.pdf)

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