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Crime & Courts

Lowcountry Watch: Beaufort Chalkboard ‘Erased’

Investigative report exposes South Carolina feel-good story as a fraud …

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A detailed, investigative report published over the weekend by The Island News in Beaufort, South Carolina has generated a ton of buzz in the Palmetto State’s Lowcountry – exposing a feel-good story as a fraud. The report dealt with the “Beaufort Chalkboard” – which greeted motorists on the Parris Island Gateway for the past three years with inspirational messages.

The Chalkboard gained a viral social media following after it was first erected during the Covid-19 pandemic by homeowners Tom Lamprecht and CJ Lamprecht. Celebrities including Katie Couric, Mariska Hargitay, and Jennifer Garner all shared content from the Chalkboard.

Things unraveled quickly for the Lamprechts, though. After they were featured on the May 2023 cover of Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine, many in the community began asking questions about CJ Lamprecht – a.k.a. ‘The Chalkboard Lady.’ This week, both the Chalkboard’s social media accounts – and the woman behind them – have seemingly vanished into thin air.

Also, the new Chalkboard website unveiled in the Lifestyle article – BeaufortChalkboard.com – has been removed from the interwebs. “Erased,” so to speak.

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The Facebook page of the Beaufort Chalkboard on June 5, 2023 informing readers that its content is unavailable. (Facebook)

Cindy Linn Lamprecht, 55, routinely utilized the Chalkboard’s popular social media accounts to solicit donations for various charitable causes. Followers of our ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption coverage may recall her platforms engaging on behalf of Stephen Smith – a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. – whose body was found in the middle of Sandy Run Road near Crocketville, S.C. in the early morning hours of July 8, 2015.

Smith’s death was initially tied to the Murdaugh family, however recent revelations have challenged that thinking.

The Island News report referenced screenshots of conversations with Lamprecht were sent to them which revealed she claimed to have met with Stephen’s mother, Sandy Smith. They allegedly discussed ways to raise money for the exhumation, such as Sandy Smith forming a GoFundMe page.

Lamprecht also claimed to have delivered several hundred dollars in donations that she collected directly to Sandy Smith three days after meeting her for coffee. When questioned about these claims, Smith told The Island News she had not received any donations from the Beaufort Chalkboard – and further claimed never to have had any face-to-face contact with Lamprecht outside of a brief meeting at the ceremony for the unveiling of her son’s headstone.

“She’s got to be exposed,” Smith told the paper.

Lamprecht claimed in the Lifestyle to be joining Amber Hewitt – an employee at the United Way of the Lowcountry – to form a new nonprofit organization. CJ told the magazine the nonprofit would provide “a more formal way to collect donations” to assist those in need, so they don’t fall through the cracks.

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CJ Lamprecht and Amber Hewitt (Provided)

When The Island News investigated this claim, though, the paper began to uncover apparent fabrications. For starters, Hewitt’s job at the United Way prohibits her from having any involvement in other non-profit organizations.

“I have not helped CJ ‘Beaufort Chalkboard’ to form a nonprofit,” Hewitt told The Island News. “Furthermore, I am in no way a part of a nonprofit with her. The articles that have been published as well as any other statements that have been made where she states otherwise are just not true.”

After being confronted with this information, Lamprecht sent a signed statement to Dale Douthat – CEO and President of United Way of the Lowcountry – saying that what was said in the article was not factual, and that the author, Karen Snyder, misrepresented what she said.

In response to this claim, Naomi Forrestall, publisher and editor-in-chief of Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine, told The Island News Lamprecht had signed off on the article and showed them the email indicating her approval.

According to The Island News, the office of S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond has officially opened an investigation into Cindy Lamprecht – including sending her a notice of violation for failure to register as a charitable organization on May 4, 2023. Lamprecht did not respond to this notice of violation within the 15-day timeframe required by law – which will result in a $2,000 fine being assessed against her.

The Island News article detailed Cindy Lamprecht’s background and found she had an extensive criminal history of financial fraud and theft that began in the early 1990s. Under a number of aliases, the News discovered Lamprecht had been convicted of at least 14 financial crimes and was sentenced to more than three years of jail time – in addition to thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

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Tom and CJ Laprecht (Facebook)

Lamprecht’s husband – who moved with her to Beaufort in 2019 – claims to have been completely unaware of his wife’s criminal history. After the publication of the News article last Friday, though, Tom Lamprecht called the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and requested their assistance in removing her from their home.

“I literally called the sheriff’s department to get them to come to my house and help me get her out of the house, and she’s on the run,” Lamprecht told The Island News in an interview.

As of now, Cindy’s location is unknown and over the weekend Tom removed the chalkboard which brought such joy to the community from his yard.

As for the Lifestyle paper, it recently published an update to its article on the Lamprechts.

“We do as much research as possible on our features before selecting them,” the publication noted. “Beaufort Chalkboard was seemingly, and now we know only on the surface, doing a lot of good for the community. CJ approved every word we printed in this article below. We were duped just like everyone else in the community.”

“Unfortunately, she is not the person she convinced Beaufort Lifestyle and everyone else in the community she is, but ultimately, the silver lining is that our story served as the impetus to expose CJ Lamprecht,” the notice concluded.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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8 comments

Greenway Cyclist Top fan June 5, 2023 at 7:23 pm

The article in The Island News referenced them as renting the property, not as the homeowners. I hope a law enforcement entity will investigate this woman.

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Frederick Barton Top fan June 5, 2023 at 7:41 pm

good work- so many scammers

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Michael Covert Top fan June 6, 2023 at 10:41 am

This has a lot of folks upset and mad as hornets down here in Beaufort County.

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Angela Simpson June 7, 2023 at 3:44 pm

Is the Smith Murder investigation still ongoing? I am very disappointed that this case to the best of my knowledge still remains UNSOLVED! I guess I had hoped for a big break thru in the case and arrests by end of May! Looks like that was just EXTREME OTIMISM on my part tho! ?

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VERITAS Top fan June 8, 2023 at 10:22 am

I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s written love letters to AleX Murdaugh, seein’ as how they have so much in common … She can run but she can’t hide … they’ll find her. LOL! Great reporting.

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Anonymous June 6, 2023 at 9:10 pm

Great reporting!

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SubZeroIQ June 10, 2023 at 11:02 am

BCSO had “to get her out of her [marital] home and now she is on the run”? On the run from what?
If she had a warrant for her arrest, she should have been arrested right there and then?
Also, I am NOT a lawyer; but it seems to me a spouse cannot get another out of the marital home without a family court order.
And someone please tell me: is not knowing of a spouse’s past criminal history grounds for dissolution of a marriage without court involvement?
The lawlessness bragged about by that woman’s husband appears to me worse than anything the wife is accused of.
It seems everyone Sandi Smith gets displeased with gets some ax.
BTW, shouldn’t Sandi Smith herself have registered as a charitable organization? And who supervises the money Sandi Smith got from GoFundMe under false claims that Buster Murdaugh had beaten Stephen Smith to death with a baseball bat and Sandi Smith needed the money to prove it?
FITSNews, I fat-fingered myself into this story when I was scrolling down your Stephen Smith grand jury story to see if there are new comments. Is this a common problem with your new page layout?

Reply
Sherry Powers June 16, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Quick word from a local. Beaufort is not pronounced the way that the recording of this article is. Beeeewfort not Bowfort. ?Great story though. ?

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