The former chief of police of Manning, South Carolina has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing public funds – and lying about it to investigators.
According to a news release from the office of U.S. attorney Sherri Lydon, 60-year-old Gary B. “Blair” Shaffer is facing ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for his crimes. He is currently awaiting his sentence, which will be determined by U.S. district judge Bruce Howe Hendricks.
From the U.S. attorney’s release …
Evidence presented to the court established that Shaffer was the Manning Chief of Police until August 2018. On September 12, 2015, Manning police officers performed a traffic stop in which they seized $80,800 from two individuals. That money should have been deposited into a City of Manning bank account with the Bank of Clarendon. On September 19, 2015, Shaffer began making large cash deposits into ATMs. By November 10, 2015, he had deposited approximately $78,514 into his personal accounts by way of cash ATM deposits.
In May 2016, a state court ordered the Manning Police Department to return a portion of the money to the individuals from whom the money was seized on September 12, 2015. On May 23, 2016, three official checks were issued from Shaffer’s personal accounts. The checks were made out to the attorney who represented the individuals to whom the money was supposed to be returned, and their total value was the exact amount that the state court had ordered to be returned.
During an interview in February 2017, Shaffer told an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the deposits were of money he had been saving for years from various sources. Shaffer admitted in federal court that this statement was false.
Shaffer was fired a year ago from his job in Manning, a town of around 4,000 people located in Clarendon County, S.C. Prior to his termination, he had served as police chief for eight years.
Since receiving her belated appointment last May, Lydon has made cracking down on corruption within local law enforcement in the Palmetto State a top priority of her office – drawing praise from this news outlet.
In doing so, she has repeatedly invoked the need to dispense equal justice and restore public faith in the integrity of these institutions … which we concur is of vital necessity in a state plagued by law enforcement scandals.
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