More than a year after pleading guilty to stealing public funds – and lying about it to investigators – the former chief of police of Manning, South Carolina was sentenced for his crimes.
According to a news release from the office of U.S. attorney Peter McCoy, 60-year-old Gary B. “Blair” Shaffer was sentenced to one year in federal prison by U.S. district court judge Bruce Hendricks for stealing nearly $80,000 in seized cash back in 2015.
Upon completion of his sentence (there is no parole in the federal system), Shaffer will be under court-ordered supervision for another year.
Shaffer had been facing a prison sentence of up to ten years.
“Those who are sworn to uphold the law must lead by example,” McCoy said in a statement. “The defendant here dishonored his oath, violated the public’s trust, and deserved his federal prison sentence. As this case shows, no one is above the law. This office will not allow those who are supposed to protect our community to take advantage of the people of South Carolina.”
According to evidence presented against Shaffer, between September 19, 2015 and November 10, 2015 the former law enforcement leader deposited $78,514 in cash into his personal bank account in increments ranging from $500 to $5,000.
“All of this money was stolen from the (Manning police department)’s evidence room,” the U.S. attorney’s release noted.
The money in question was placed in the evidence room after it was seized during a drug-related traffic stop on September 12, 2015.
After the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a tip regarding his illegal activities, Shaffer was contacted by law enforcement and “falsely denied stealing the money.”
“He deceived officials a second time, before ultimately being charged with, and pleading guilty to, theft of government funds and making a false statement to law enforcement,” the release added.
Manning is a town of around 4,000 people located in Clarendon county, S.C. Prior to his termination in 2018, Shaffer had served as the town’s police chief for eight years.
Shaffer’s case was investigated by special agent Aaron Hawkins of the FBI. It was prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorney Brook Andrews.
This news outlet applauds the informant, investigators, prosecutors and the judge in this case. All of them performed their duties in making sure a crooked law enforcement officer was held accountable for his actions.
Given the extent of law enforcement corruption that exists in the Palmetto State, our hope is we see more accountability like this in the future.
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