Superseding Indictment Unsealed in the Jonathan Pinson/Eric Robinson Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 07, 2013|
COLUMBIA, SC—The United States Attorney’s Office announced that a 52-count superseding indictment was unsealed today charging Jonathan Pinson and Eric Robinson, both age 43, of Greenville, South Carolina, with various violations of federal law. Pinson was charged in 51 counts, and Robinson was charged in 11 counts of the superseding indictment.
Specifically, both defendants are charged in count one, an alleged violation of §18 USC §1962(d) (commonly called RICO), which alleges that they conspired to operate the affairs of an enterprise (that is, a group of individuals associated in fact) through a pattern of racketeering activity; the superseding indictment alleges that the racketeering activity includes mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion under color of law, and state law bribery. The superseding indictment specifically alleges that Pinson used his position as chairman of the Board of Trustees of South Carolina State University (SCSU) to commit illegal acts on behalf of the enterprise.
Pinson is charged in counts two through four with theft and conversion from an entity receiving federal funds in violation of 18 USC §666. Robinson is charged in count five with offering a bribe and kickback to Pinson, also in violation of 18 USC §666. Pinson and Robinson are charged in count six with extortion under color of law in violation of 18 USC §1951 (commonly called the Hobbs Act) in connection with allegations of the payment of kickbacks related to the 2011 SCSU Homecoming concert. Pinson is charged in count seven with extortion under color of law in connection with an alleged scheme to solicit a kickback in return for arranging SCSU’s purchase of a piece of property located in Orangeburg County called the Sportsman’s Retreat.
Counts eight through 21 charge use of the interstate wires in furtherance of a scheme to deprive the citizens of South Carolina and the students, alumni, and staff of SCSU of their right to the honest services of Pinson in violation of 18 USC §§ 1343 and 1346 (honest services wire fraud). Pinson is charged in all these counts; Robinson is charged in five of these counts. Pinson and Robinson are also charged in counts 22 and 23 with honest services wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to solicit kickbacks to be paid to an elected official in DeKalb County, Georgia.
Pinson is charged in counts 24-26 with violations of 18 USC §1341 (mail fraud). The counts allege that Pinson caused the use of the mails in connection with a scheme to defraud and to convert public funds related to a diaper plant located in Marion County, SC. Pinson is charged in counts 27-34 with violations of 18 USC §1343 (wire fraud) based on allegations that he used and caused the use of interstate wires in connection with a scheme to defraud by converting and misappropriating funds from a federal grant provided through the Columbia Housing Authority to the Village at River’s Edge (VRE), a mixed-use housing development located in Columbia, South Carolina. Pinson is also charged in counts 35-42 with money laundering in violation of 18 USC §§ 1956 and 1957, which allege that he engaged in illegal financial transactions with the money obtained in the course of the violations charged in counts two, three, and 24-35 of the superseding indictment.
Counts 43-50 charge Pinson with making false statements on HUD-51001 forms submitted to the Columbia Housing Authority by Pinson and VRE, in violation of 18 USC §1001. Counts 51 and 52 charge Pinson and Robinson respectively with making false statements to federal law enforcement officials, also in violation of 18 USC §1001. The false statements are alleged to be related to the investigation concerning the 2011 SCSU Homecoming concert.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI). Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy C. Wicker, Mark C. Moore, Jane B. Taylor, T. DeWayne Pearson, and J.D. Rowell of the Columbia Office are prosecuting this and other related cases stemming from this ongoing investigation.
Both defendants will be arraigned at a later date. The United States Attorney’s Office notes that both defendants are presumed innocent of the charges contained in this superseding indictment.