Former Cherokee Deputy Clerk Pleads Guilty
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 21, 2012|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Melanie Sparks, age 40, of Gaffney, South Carolina, pled guilty today in federal court in Anderson, South Carolina, to stealing funds in excess of $60,000, from a child support fund operated by Cherokee County, South Carolina. It is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666 to embezzle, steal, or convert to one’s own use money from an organization that receives more than $10,000 a year in federal assistance. Cherokee County receives more than $10,000 a year in federal assistance. United States District Judge Tim Cain, of Anderson, South Carolina, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the pre-sentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Facts presented at the change of plea hearing established that Sparks, while employed as a deputy clerk in the child support section of the Cherokee County Clerk of Court’s Office, took money from cash receipts. An audit was conducted which revealed a shortfall in excess of $60,000 between January 2008 and November 2009.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Sparks can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.