MANNING - More than six months after pleading guilty to two federal charges, Manning's former police chief Blair Shaffer has a court date for his sentencing.
Shaffer's sentencing has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 23 in Courtroom 2 at the U.S. …
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Shaffer's sentencing has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 23 in Courtroom 2 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Charleston, according to Katie Stoughton, deputy appellate chief in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbia.
On July 11, Shaffer, 60 at the time, pleaded guilty to two counts of a five-count indictment. The former police chief entered guilty pleas to theft of government funds and making a false statement (to federal agents) before U.S. District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks at the U.S. District Courthouse in Charleston. Hendricks said he would review the presentencing report that was prepared by the U.S. Probation Office and sentence Shaffer at a later date.
U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon said that evidence implicated Shaffer in theft of government funds that stemmed from a Sept. 12, 2015, traffic stop when $80,000 was seized from two individuals.
Lydon said the money should have been deposited into a City of Manning bank account; however, seven days after the stop, Shaffer began making large cash deposits into ATMs. Between Sept. 12, 2015, and Nov. 20, 2015, Shaffer had deposited approximately $79,514 into his personal accounts via cash ATM deposits, Lydon added.
Less than one year later in May 2016, a state court ordered the Manning Police Department to return a portion of the money to the individual from whom the money was seized, Lydon said. On May 23, 2016, three checks from Shaffer's personal accounts were issued to the attorney who represented the individuals in the traffic stop. The amount of the checks written from Shaffer's personal accounts totaled the exact amount that the state court had ordered to be returned, Lydon added.
In a February 2017 interview with an FBI agent, Shaffer stated that the deposits were of money he had been saving from various sources for years, Lydon shared.
"Shaffer admitted in federal court that this statement was false," Lydon said in a July 2019 news release.
Shaffer's Jan. 7, 2019, arrest on federal charges came just five months after his job as Manning police chief was terminated. In the days and weeks following his termination, Shaffer fought for his job before the city's Grievance Committee, whose members recommended the city overturn Shaffer's termination. City officials denied the committee's recommendation and upheld Shaffer's termination.
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